President urges saturation in sports
Nation will grow more fit, better prepared for Olympics, he says
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.
Right, President Xi Jinping meets International Olympic Committee