Adi­das plays key role in na­tional sports

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - ByWANG ZHUO­QIONG wangzhuo­qiong@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Peng Weiguo, the re­tired Chi­nese soc­cer player, has at­trib­uted his ca­reer suc­cess to the pro­fes­sional train­ing he re­ceived since the age of five.

“My dad sent me and my brother to learn how to play prop­erly when we were re­ally young,” he said, re­call­ing the gru­elling yet ex­cit­ing train­ing ses­sions ev­ery morn­ing dur­ing his pri­mary school. “A good start is vi­tal to suc­cess.”

Nowa­days, how­ever, he says chil­dren with an in­ter­est in soc­cer can go very few places to play, let alone be coached as he was.

But that might all be about to change, with the on­go­ing help of Ger­man sports­wear gi­ant Adi­das AG.

The company has an­nounced its big­gest grass­roots in­vest­ment ever with the launch of an Adi­das Youth Foot­ball Tour­na­ment in China, which it hopes will at­tract thou­sands of top play­ers across four ci­ties in China to a se­ries of com­pet­i­tive matches.

The event is the lat­est in a se­ries of pro­grams launched by Adi­das that will fo­cus on the long-term de­vel­op­ment of China’s youth soc­cer, in­clud­ing youth leagues, coach­ing train­ing cour­ses and player de­vel­op­ment pro­grams.

Colin Cur­rie, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Adi­das Group, Greater China, said: “By in­vest­ing in China’s youth foot­ball, we will in­spire a new gen­er­a­tion of fans and nur­ture a new gen­er­a­tion of play­ers.

“We’ve had a strong track record in sup­port­ing grass­roots sports in this mar­ket and be­lieve our pro­grams will ac­cel­er­ate foot­ball in China.”

Since 2009, Adi­das has sup­ported the coun­try’s big­gest grass­roots soc­cer pro­gram, “China School Foot­ball”, which now claims to reach 2.7 mil­lion stu­dents in more than 5,000 schools in 123 ci­ties.

The pro­gram also fo­cuses on coach­ing and train­ing pro­grams and claims to have trained more 7,500 teach­ers and coaches.

The company also sup­ports 40 am­a­teur soc­cer leagues through the Adi­das Cham­pi­ons League pro­gram and trains more than 500 Chi­nese pro­fes­sional coaches each year un­der the Adi­das Coach Train­ing pro­gram.

Adi­das has also fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing sport of all kinds in China over the years through var­i­ous grass­roots ini­tia­tives, spon­sor­ing ath­letes, for in­stance, and play-based CSR pro­grams.

Its grass­roots ini­tia­tives, which in­clude the Adi­das High School Bas­ket­ball League and Adi­das Run­ning Tribes work­shop, have reached thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants across the coun­try, it says.

The company also en­gages con­sumers in train­ing, run­ning and out­door events that reach tens of thou­sands of sports fans each year.

For the last five con­sec­u­tive years, the company has spon­sored the Beijing Marathon, China’s largest marathon, which at­tracts more than 30,000 run­ners from around the world. It also spon­sors two na­tional teams — volleyball and fenc­ing

ZHANG WENKUI/XIN­HUA

Teenagers wear­ing Adi­das sports­wear play soc­cer in Shenyang, Liaon­ing prov­ince, in this file pho­to­graph. The company sup­ports 40 am­a­teur soc­cer leagues through the Adi­das Cham­pi­ons League pro­gram

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