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Coddled kids in need of tougher sports

(Global Times)

13:14, November 14, 2012

Illustration: Liu Rui

Many microbloggers expressed their shock at hearing that Wuhan-based Huazhong University of Science and Technology had canceled two running events in its annual sports meeting over the weekend. These were the 3,000-meter women's race and the 5,000-meter men's race.

The university stated that most students were unqualified for these events and would be exposed to unnecessary risks and dangers if they took part. The purpose was seemingly to protect the students from being hurt, according to a report in the Wuhan Morning Post, citing a teacher in charge of the university's sports meeting.

This reminded me of the sports meeting held last month in the Shanghai middle school my daughter is currently attending.

When my daughter told me that she could only select between very simple events such as the 100m, 200m and 400m races or the long jump. I asked her about longer distance events such as the 800m or 1,500m races. However, she had no idea about these.

Other parents told me that since more attention is traditionally paid to major academic subjects such as Chinese, math and English, physical education is being neglected. The school is afraid of accidents or injuries taking place during sports meetings. As a result, potentially dangerous events were cancelled.

I couldn't help recalling the noisy and frenetic sports days of both my middle school and university years.

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