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A smart sport that has a point

By Liu Zhihua (China Daily)

08:38, April 26, 2012

Two girls fence in a competition at the Beijing Wanghaibin International Fencing Club. Photos Provided to China Daily

Chen Bing lunged at her opponent and scored a hit on her opponent's chest.

In the crowded hall, her mom held her breath, her eyes fixed on the two rival teens fencing.

At the event's conclusion, Chen won third place in the teenage girls competition staged by five fencing clubs in Beijing.

"I'm relieved that my little girl doesn't look like me at all," says a pear-shaped Zou Jing. "I have seen her grow from a fat girl into a slim, confident and mature teenager. I am very proud of her."

Standing alongside, a sweating Chen laughed and tried to cover her mother's mouth so she wouldn't say any more.

Chen was overweight, introverted and had no friends before she started fencing three years ago. Now the 13-year-old is slim, pretty and confident.

"Fencing rebuilt her," Zou says.

Chen's Beijing Wanghaibin International Fencing Club opened in 2011 and has proven popular, sports agent Sun Haiyang says.

More youngsters are fencing in big cities, Sun says, adding that there was a significant increase after the Beijing Olympics.

Beijing has more than 20,000 fencers, most of whom are kids, Sun says.

The club organized its first competition this year, with more than 150 children taking part. Sun says there are plans to hold four similar competitions a year in the future.

"Fencing is good for the body and mind," says Wang Yu, a senior coach at Beijing Vango International Fencing Sport Center.

"You can't help but like it after you have tried it", because it's fun and a great workout, Wang says.

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