BEIJING, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- China's 14th National Games kicked off Wednesday evening. President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony at Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, and declared the Games open.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, attaches great importance to the development of sports in the country. A sports fan himself, Xi has on many occasions shared his thoughts on sports and sportsmanship.
Following are highlights of Xi's remarks about the role of sports:
-- Sports represent youth, health and vigor. It concerns people's well-being as well as the future of a nation.
-- A leading sporting nation is built on robust mass sports.
-- We will develop mass sports in parallel with competitive sports, promote fitness activities across the country, and continue to improve the health of the population.
-- We need to accelerate reform and innovation in sports, adopt the latest sporting models, learn from the rest of the world, and inject fresh vigor and impetus into the development of sports in the country.
-- We should stick to the educational philosophy that health comes first, strengthen physical education in schools, and balance academic learning and physical exercise for young people.
-- I wholeheartedly give Chinese athletes thumbs-up, whenever I watch them compete at major international events, strive for good scores and win glory for the country. China in the new era, more than ever, needs this spirit of mission and hard work.