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Farmers' Games wrap up in Nanyang

By Xiang Mingchao, Henan and Shao Wei  (China Daily)

11:01, September 22, 2012

Rowing teams participate in a dragon boat race at the seven-day National Farmers' Games, which feature 15 sports and 198 events, including traditional Chinese games such as dragon boat racing, kite fl ying and shuttlecock. [Photo/China Daily]

Other than watching sports events on television, including the London Olympic Games in August and the Paralympics in early September, China's farmers are keeping a close eye on what they consider the real games.

The 7th National Farmers' Games kicked off on Sept 16 in Nanyang, Henan province. The event attracted 4,689 athletes, team leaders, coaches and referees from 32 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, including Taiwan.

Known as the largest granary in China's central plain, Nanyang has about 9 million farmers. In order to deliver a successful event, the city's organizers have built or refurbished 15 stadiums and other facilities, including the newly built 35,000-seat Nanyang Stadium.

The seven-day competition features 15 sports and 198 events. Unlike most games that highlight the limits of physical strength and competitiveness, the games for farmers focus on recreation, and not on results.

Farmers compete in events such as a competition where they have to snatch grain and put it into storage, in which contestants load sandbags onto tricycles and sprint to the finish line.

There is also a tire-pushing race and a contest to carry water and protect seedlings from drought, as well as conventional sports such as table tennis and basketball.

Traditional Chinese games such as dragon boat racing, kite flying and shuttlecock are also included.

"I had great fun here," said Tan Renyi, a 19-year-old who raced to plant seedlings and came in fourth place. "I got used to activities like this on my family's farm."

Thousands of volunteers are scattered around the city to provide help for tourists and participants.

The quadrennial National Farmers' Games debuted in 1988 in Beijing. This year's edition will conclude on Saturday.
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