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China marks Chairman Mao's sports slogan with various activities

(Xinhua)

08:14, June 11, 2012

BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of citizens took part in various sports activities around China on Sunday to mark the 60th anniversary of late Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong's classic sports slogan for physical exercises nationwide.

The slogan of "Promoting physical culture and sports; strengthening the people's physique" set by Chairman Mao in 1952, still looks practicable in the country, which has witnessed a great leap from shortage of sports facilities and national weak physique.

From "sick man of Asia" to the top on the Olympic gold medal list, China presents the world with the progress it has made in both promoting national fitness and training athletic talents.

In Beijing, tens of thousands of citizens from all walks of life on Sunday had a fun run at the Olympic Green where the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube, the two landmark venues of the 2008 Games, were located.

"I really enjoy the fun run, maybe I'm a little bit slow and even could't finish the five-kilometer distance, but that's not important, the key is I'm loving it. I hope my dorm mates can join me," Wang Zhengrong, a college student told Xinhua.

People in the Chinese capital also marked the anniversary by competing in the tournament for the ninth edition of China's broadcast callisthenics.

The radio callisthenics is always broadcasted in middle school, college, social units, park and so on, where people do exercises to music during the studying or working break.

"Doing the exercises twice usually needs 10 minutes and is equal to the effect of a medium-level sports," said Zhang Ping, an expert with the designing group of the callisthenics.

In Shanghai, superstars Yao Ming and Liu Xiang and other famous sports celebrities like former soccer star Fan Zhiyi and table tennis player Wang Liqin joined their local men in the city's inaugural Citizens' Games.

The fitness-oriented games will feature 50 sports covering 2,399 events and involve millions of Shanghainese in the coming five months.

In Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, tens of thousands of citizens took part in a walking race to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the slogan.

Zhao Rongfu, the director of the Hangzhou Sports Bureau, said the city has held the similar walking race event many times in the past two years and he hoped the activity can attract more people into the National Fitness Program.

"The only aim of the walk is to let people take part in sports and be healthy," said Zhao.

Getting more of China's 1.3 billion people involved in sports was one of the legacy aims of the Beijing Olympics, where China topped the medals table with 51 golds.

The National Fitness Program was started at this background and the Chinese people began to pay more attention to the popularity of sports and fun of sports instead of the results of competitions.

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