China’s youth tak­ing up sail­ing, en­cour­aged by league com­pe­ti­tion, train­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By SONG MENGXING

Some 140 young sports­men at­tended a na­tional sail­boat youth club league match in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince, from July 14 to 16, the lat­est sign that the sport of sail­ing is catch­ing on across China.

The young peo­ple were from 16 clubs in 12 cities, in­clud­ing Bei­jing, Shen­zhen, Xi­a­men, Dalian, Nan­jing and Suzhou.

This year, the match has its branch com­pe­ti­tions in five cities and the fi­nal con­test will take place at the end of the year. The first branch match was held in Shang­hai in April and the sec­ond was in Qing­dao.

A tra­di­tional sail­boat match in Shi­nan dis­trict in Qing­dao was also held along with the youth club com­pe­ti­tion. The tra­di­tional match, which started in 2006, joined the youth club com­pe­ti­tion last year, said Lu Xue­mei, deputy di­rec­tor at Shi­nan’s ed­u­ca­tion and sports bureau.

Lu said of­fi­cials hope the event will en­cour­age more peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in the sport of sail­ing and pro­mote its de­vel­op­ment.

Adult teams and fam­ily sail­boat groups from Shi­nan dis­trict at­tended the event. Adult team play­ers are staff mem­bers from gov­ern­ment agen­cies and com­pa­nies while fam­ily par­tic­i­pants com­prise par­ents and chil­dren who are all mid­dle and pri­mary school stu­dents in Shi­nan.

Their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the event is im­por­tant for the dis­trict to pop­u­lar­ize sail­ing as a sport, lo­cal of­fi­cials said.

They said the dis­trict has been com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing the sport based on the in­flu­ence of the 2008 Olympics sail­ing re­gatta and its coastal lo­ca­tion since the com­peti- tion was hosted in Qing­dao in 2008.

The dis­trict has em­ployed pro­fes­sional coaches to teach sail­boat skills to pri­mary and mid­dle school stu­dents. This year, it launched a pilot ac­tiv­ity in which eight schools pro­vided class­room sail­boat knowl­edge train­ing and prac­ti­cal train­ing sea­side.

To date, more than 6,000 pri­mary and mid­dle school stu­dents in Shi­nan have re­ceived sail­boat knowl­edge and skill train­ing , and 22 schools in the dis­trict have become city-le vel sail­boat schools.

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