A team doctor witnesses 50 years of National Games

09:23, October 26, 2009      

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Yang Zongqun was sitting next to the basketball court, looking carefully at the Liaoning players' performance. After the competition, he would give them all a massage.

Yang is the team doctor, and all the team members know that this man has witnessed the history of Chinese sports: the 69-year-old Yang has taken part in all the 11 National Games that started from 1959.

"I am the oldest doctor in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)," he said, who accompanied the Liaoning basketball team in all the competitions including the CBA tournament.

Yang has been working as a team doctor since the second national competition. But at the first Games in 1959, he was a sportsman, representing Liaoning delegation as both a coach and an archer.

He started working with his father as a doctor since the archery team was dismissed the next year. Now his working experience covered almost all sports events, including football, volleyball and gymnastics.

"I have worked in all games except for the game of go," he said proudly. "I don't think you can find a second person like me."

Yet after this competition, Yang will retire from the team.

"I am already an old man, and I need to retire after this tournament," he smiled. "If I can, I will definitely come to watch the 12th Games."

50 years are not a short time, but Yang still remember clearly his first National Games.

"It (the Games) took place during the national day and we were informed two days ahead that a sports phalanx was to be included in the ceremony, and we were received later by the nation's top leaders," he said.

"I had never seen such a big celebration, and the most impressive was I saw Chairman Mao at that time," he said.

Now 50 years have passed, what impressed this veteran is how modern technologies and equipments improved the sports.

"We used to practice archery with ox horn bows in 1957, and we upgraded to the bamboo ones in 1958. We need to shoot to the sky so that the arrows could fall on the targets," he said.

"Now the Liaoning archery team has the best equipments, including aiming devices, weight counterbalance," he said.

"China is among the top sports countries now. At this National Games, we can see a lot of Olympic champions in our national competitions," he smiled.

Source: Xinhua
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