Pres­i­dent urges sat­u­ra­tion in sports

Na­tion will grow more fit, bet­ter pre­pared for Olympics, he says

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - By SUN XIAOCHEN in Tian­jin sunx­i­aochen@chi­nadaily.com.cn SPORT/GAME EVENTS PAR­TIC­I­PANTS*

per­form­ers present a dragon boat race dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 13th Chi­nese Na­tional Games in Tian­jin on Sunday. Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach in Tian­jin on Sunday. He told Bach that China’s prepa­ra­tions for the 2022 Win­ter Olympics are on tar­get.

Am­a­teurs are set to steal the show at this year’s Na­tional Games as the event evolves to en­gage with more or­di­nary sports en­thu­si­asts.

As China’s na­tional bad­minton team com­peted at the BWF World Cham­pi­onships in Glas­gow, Scot­land, a group of am­a­teurs, in­clud­ing teach­ers, white-col­lar work­ers and even a grand­fa­ther in his 60s, were prac­tic­ing their shots and foot­work drenched with sweat on Thurs­day at the in­door gym­na­sium at Bei­jing Sport Uni­ver­sity.

They were pre­par­ing for their own shot at glory at the 13th Chi­nese Na­tional Games in Tian­jin, which started on Sunday and will last un­til Sept 8.

For the first time in the event’s 58-year his­tory, 19 sports and games have been opened to am­a­teurs, in­clud­ing bad­minton, table tennis, marathon and chess, to in­clude more grass­roots ath­letes in China’s elite mul­ti­sport meet­ing, which takes place once ev­ery four years.

Es­tab­lished in 1949 with the Olympic pro­gram as its model, the games used to only ac­cept full-time ath­letes reg­is­tered with provin­cial sports bu­reaus and in­dus­trial sports as­so­ci­a­tions. It was con­sid­ered a test for ath­letes de­vel­oped within the Staterun ath­letic sys­tem and an as­sess­ment of lo­cal sports of­fi­cials based on their man­age­ment of provin­cial teams.

“It’s dif­fer­ent now af­ter it has opened its door to us,” said Guo Xiao­hong, leader of the Bei­jing ama­teur bad­minton squad pre­par­ing for the Tian­jin com­pe­ti­tion. “I have par­tic­i­pated in al­most ev­ery ama­teur event in China, but to step on the court of the Na­tional Games was only a dream. I can’t be­lieve it’s com­ing true.”

Through two rounds of pre­lim­i­nar­ies, 21 play­ers from lympic Win­ter Games, Xi urged the coun­try to take ad­van­tage of the high-pro­file oc­ca­sion to pro­mote bal­anced de­vel­op­ment of com­pet­i­tive sports, mass sports and the Marathon run­ning Dragon boat rac­ing Five-a-side soccer Bad­minton Chess Dragon danc­ing Table tennis Tai chi ball Bridge Model air­craft rac­ing Gas vol­ley­ball Climb­ing Chi­nese chess Model ship rac­ing Tai chi Roller sports Health qigong Check­ers Go sports in­dus­try to en­hance the ath­letic prow­ess and im­prove na­tion’s over­all fit­ness, Xi said.

Xi stressed that the coun­try’s sports de­vel­op­ment should ad­dress the pub­lic’s grow­ing de­mand for greater sports par­tic­i­pa­tion and higher fit­ness lev­els. The re­form of in­clud­ing am­a­teurs in the Na­tional Games pro­gram is a pos­i­tive step, he added.

The Tian­jin games opened 19 events to ama­teur par­tic­i­pa­tion, a first in the games’ 58-year his­tory.

Ear­lier on Sunday, Xi met with In­ter­na­tional Olympic

The 13th Na­tional Games in Tian­jin is the first to fea­ture events for ama­teur com­peti­tors.

Left,

FEI MAOHUA / XINHUA, WU ZHIYI / CHINA DAILY

Right, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping meets In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee

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