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Young City, Big Party (3)

By YU LINTAO (Beijing Review)

10:49, August 29, 2011

What is more important than a gold medal? Head of Chinese delegation Yang Liguo said, "Exchange."

"We made three suggestions to our athletes. First, try to make friends with an overseas athlete during the competition; second, try to learn comprehensively about an overseas university; third, learn about Shenzhen in every aspect," Yang said.

Universiade volunteer and college student Cheng Lisha met her first foreign friend, Mexican swimmer Silvia Araiza at the Universiade Village. "We helped each other to learn about the different customs of our own cultures. I also improved my spoken English through communication between us," Cheng said.

Cheng said she looks forward to more exchanges through e-mail with Silvia in the future.

Tuna Tali, the youngest Turkish water polo athlete, said he has made many new friends from different countries in Shenzhen and learnt a lot about other countries.

"Everyone here in the Universiade Village likes to make friends. You can make new friends even when you are walking around the village or eating in the canteen. I ran across a guy last night when I was going down the stairs to buy an ice cream. We talked a lot. He told me stories about his motherland, very interesting," Tali said.

The Shenzhen Universiade also provided a chance for college students to learn about China. Kenyan athlete Mathew Kiptoo said China is developing so quickly it can match any of the Group of Eight countries in terms of economic power.

Head of the Australian delegation Martin Roberts said the most important communication not only took place among athletes, coaches and officials of delegations, member of SUOC and volunteers, but also involved Shenzhen's citizens.

"Our athletes often told me when they were walking on the road, local people would come and talk to them in a friendly manner, asking to take pictures together or handing them cold drinks to refresh them in the hot weather. All this has made us feel good," Roberts said.

A series of cultural exchange activities such as the World University Presidents Forum and the China-EU Youth Forum were also held in Shenzhen during the Universiade. Aside from forums and conferences, more than 100 art performances were staged for visitors and athletes and 36 exhibitions of traditional Chinese culture, sculpture and Shenzhen's development were held. In addition, the Cultural Experience Zone of Shenzhen also provided athletes a convenient place to get to know each other during the games.

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