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Parkour's best ready to gather in Hubei

By Lei Lei  (China Daily)

10:46, August 24, 2012

The world's top parkour athletes will gather in China for the World Aquatic Parkour Masters in October, the organizers announced on Tuesday.

The tournament, which will be held from Oct 25-29 at Wudang Mountain in China's Hubei province, has attracted some of the world's elite parkour athletes. They include Jason Paul from Germany, a three-time Art of Motion champion; Kie Willis of Britain, the 2011Yokohama Art of Motion champion; Ryan Doyle of Britain, the 2007 Art of Motion champion and founder of Airborn Entertainment, which run classes aimed at teaching children parkour; and Tim Shieff of the US, winner of the 2009 Barclaycard World Freerun Championship.

Parkour, which originated in France in the 1980s, requires participants to overcome obstacles by adapting their movements to the environment. It's also known as free running.

Participants run along a route, attempting to negotiate obstacles with skills such as climbing, rolling, jumping, vaulting, and swinging.

Men are called traceur, women are traceuse, French slang for "to hurry".

It can be practiced in any environment, but urban areas are best because they're rich with obstacles.

The sport was brought to China in 2006, and has attracted an estimated 200,000 participants. China held the National Parkour Tournament in 2009 and 2011.

A series of national selections will be held before this year's world masters. The selections will be held in Xi'an on Sept 8, Guangzhou on Sept 15 and Beijing on Sept 22. Athletes can register at www.parkouchina.com. The prize money for the world masters is 100,000 yuan ($15,700).

The judges for the tournament feature a group of experts in parkour and Chinese kung fu. They include movie star Zhao Wenzhuo, Olympic fencing champion Zhong Man and Chau Belle, one of the founders of the world's top parkour team, Yamakasi.

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