Mass sports promoters honored

08:42, December 22, 2009      

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Olympic gymnastics champions and gym instructors were honored on Friday for their dedication to promoting sports through the 'Thousand Mile Journey to Keep Fit' program.

Chen Yibing, the men's rings gold medalist at last year's Beijing Olympic Games, and Yang Yilin, a member of the champion women's team, were lauded in Beijing on behalf of more than 40 Chinese champions who acted as ambassadors for the nationwide mass sports program.

Also, 23 fitness instructors were feted for their efforts to get people to work out in gyms.

Organized by the State General Administration of Sport (SGAS) and aided by dozens of clubs, the program has reached citizens in more than 400 residential areas in 35 cities over the past four months and is expected to continue to expand.

"The activities did not only enable tens of thousands of people to share the joy of exercise with stars and professionals but also let us realize their longing and passion for sports in daily life," Feng Jianzhong, deputy director of the SGAS, said at the ceremony. "We understand the need for such a program and are determined to upgrade it."

After topping the gold medal tally for the first time at last year's Beijing Games, China has expanded its focus from competitive sports to include events for the masses; encouraging more people to take part in daily exercise.

While the athletes fought for medals at the 11th National Games in October, the organizers said the event's motto, 'Harmonious China, People's Games', was aimed at promoting physical fitness nationwide rather than just being mere a demonstration of the country's sports strength.

As part of the efforts, a star-studded cast of volunteers, including star hurdler Liu Xiang, interacted with fans at the Games by kicking shuttlecocks and playing badminton in the Games' host city, Jinan.

Source: China Daily
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