The renovation of the National Aquatics Centre has been completed, making it the first venue ready for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing.

The venue, more famously known as the Water Cube, was developed to stage aquatics events for the 2008 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has been repurposed to host curling as a 4,500-seat arena for Beijing 2022.

State news agency Xinhua said the renovation work involved construction, waterproofing, membrane maintenance and other engineering aspects, taking in an area of about 50,000 square metres.

One of the main challenges was said to be building a convertible structure and installing a moveable ice making system in the middle of the arena to form a curling surface with four standard tracks. After significant testing, a water ice conversion system was selected enabling conversion materials to be reused, and the redevelopment cost to be reduced.

Following ice production at the site, the Water Cube is set to be opened as a curling experience in the central area of Beijing’s Olympic Park.

A total of 25 competition and non-competition venues, located in Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, will be used at the 2022 Games. The Beijing Competition Zone will be home to three Olympic winter sports, namely curling, ice hockey and skating.

It will feature 12 venues, including eight that remain as a legacy from Beijing 2008, three newly-built and one temporary.

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