China kicks off month-long winter festival in northern city of Harbin

HARBIN, China (Reuters) – Swimming enthusiast Yu Hongtao, 50, trained for months in the freezing water of the Songhua river to compete in a winter ice swimming tournament held annually in China’s northern city of Harbin, known for its bitterly cold weather. “You have to start swimming from autumn so that the body can conquer the sudden icy impact on one’s cardio-vascular system,” said Yu, a Harbin resident. “The feeling of diving into the water is very cool.” More than 300 men and women, wearing just ordinary trunks and swimsuits,…

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