SPORTS 14th National Games boost public fitness in Xi'an

SPORTS

14th National Games boost public fitness in Xi'an

Xinhua

08:20, March 03, 2021

Xi'an Olympic Center Stadium. (Xinhua/Shao Rui)

If you pass by the Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City in Xi'an, the capital city of China's northwest Shaanxi province, during the first Chinese lunar month, the lanterns which decorate in the shapes of China's 14th National Games mascots are sure to catch your attention.

In the hometown of the terracotta warriors and horses, the major event, which will take place from September 15 to 27, is triggering a boom in the public's interest in fitness.

Qian Yusong, an 11-year-old footballer, trains after class on a new field near the Ba river in northeastern Xi'an, with his teammates from the Shaanxi Qinwei football club.

"I started to play football in 2016, before last December, I played on poor soil near my home. Now I can improve my skills better and better on the newly-built court," said Qian.

"I want to become a professional player. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are my icons," Qian added.

Zhao Yi, an official from the Chaba ecological district, told Xinhua that in the plans of the local government, the courts were the ancillary works of the 14th National Games venues.

"Besides the football courts, we have table tennis tables, badminton courts, and all sorts of fitness equipment in the area, meeting different demands of mass fitness," said Zhao.

"We also have one of nine favorite running routes in Xi'an, attracting hundreds of runners every day. It only takes 100,000 plus people no more than 15 minutes to arrive here to do their physical exercises," Zhao said.

As one of the hometowns of martial arts, with the approaching National Games, Lianhu district is popularizing the Chinese traditional activity.

"In Lianhu, we teach students in accordance with their aptitudes. We popularized red boxing in schools, we teach the aged to practice Tai Chi in the communities. In the seven companies which can only supply limited space, their employees learn how to play Ying Yie," says Gao Jianwu, the president of the Lianhu Martial Arts Association.

"We have Martial arts organizations in every park and square in Lianhu, with about 100,000 Martial arts enthusiasts. We will host the Tai Chi event of this year's Xi'an mass fitness competition before the National Games. We will pass the precious quintessence on in the future," Gao said.

In downtown Xi'an, few football courts were available. To solve the problem, the Xi'an Beilin district government cooperated with a company to build several futsal football courts near a shopping mall in 2020.

"The small courts reach the standards of the AFC and are free to the public, except the weekends and at night. More and more citizens can enjoy the sport on the high-class artificial grass," said Zhang Quan, one of the court operators.

At night, the scenic area of Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City is illuminated by lanterns in the shapes of flowers from former National Games host cities.

The 'flowers', including roses from Shenyang, kapoks from Guangzhou, and Chinese roses from Qingdao, bloom in the street.

"We will embrace the spring, and give the elites of the sport around the country a warm welcome in the autumn. We will all benefit from the major event," said Miao Jiaxin, a staff of the Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City.

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