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American football sees growing popularity in Tianjin city of China

(Xinhua)    07:42, June 03, 2019

TIANJIN, June 2 (Xinhua) -- A group of American football enthusiasts, wearing helmets, masks and other protective gears, are in full swing to embark on their twice-a-week training in the football playground of Tianjin Medical University on Sunday.

They are members of Tianjin Black Sails American Football Club. Kou Tianming, 30, is the founder of the club.

"American football is full of passion, power and speed. And the encouragement from teammates can help people find a sense of belonging and accomplishment," Kou, also an owner of two fitness centers, explained the reason why he founded the club.

Dating back to its starting period in 2016, Kou merely stuck to one tenet to enroll his team members, that is courage.

"If someone got the courage to collide with me with his full power, and wanted to try it again no matter he was hit down or not. Then he is the guy that our team is eager for," Kou said.

With half-year of practice and preparation, October 15, 2016 witnessed the first victory of the team as they overcame Tianjin's another more famous American football club Pirates.

"In the hottest time, we could even squeeze out the sweats from our protective gears," Kou said, but most of them chose to continue.

His club once had over 60 amateur enthusiasts at the peak but now falls to over 40, ranging from 15 to 40 years old. "We are not merely friends but more likely a family."

In many people's eyes, American football is only for those who are strong and powerful. But Kou doesn't think so.

"This inclusive game is suitable for people with different figures, but their physical quality must be good," Kou said, "we also have a female member in the club," Kou said.

"I never thought the city of Tianjin may have a team of American football. I feel like returning home every time I'm in the court." said 40-year-old American Andy, who works in Tianjin University of Technology as a teacher. Now he is the linebacker of the team.

Nakul, an Indian student in Tianjin Medical University, said he could not even finish the warming up at the beginning, but now has become an indispensable player of the team.

"American football makes me a somebody from nobody," he said.

In Kou's eyes, although American football has attracted more and more people in China in recent years, it remains a small sport in the country.

"But I'm delighted that more and more companies undertake the professional training of American football and youngsters have more accesses to this game and gradually picked up interest in it," Kou said

Kou hopes to manage and operate a club to provide professional training guidance for each club members in the future. "I'm willing to see more players pursuing the pure happiness from American football."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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