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Basketball the root of passion for sports on China's plateau

(Xinhua)    10:27, October 20, 2020

LANZHOU, China, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Every Sunday afternoon, young Tibetan Tsering makes his way over to the basketball court in his hometown village of Zhadai. There he meets up with his teammates where they will take part in a fun but competitive game of basketball.

Growing up in Gannan, a Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China's Gansu Province, the 16-year-old Tsering said he was born to play basketball.

Despite being in late Autumn, the sun still shines brightly in the Gannan sky, which sits at an average altitude of over 3,000 meters above sea level. Tsering, wearing only a T-shirt, builds up a sweat as he plays. He sinks a beautiful three pointer, and draws applause and cheers from onlookers.

Tsering has been passionate about basketball since he was a kid, and refused to miss any NBA games on TV. But it was not until his 10th birthday that he owned his first basketball.

"My father bought me a basketball when he went into the town. I can still recall how excited I was when I touched the ball and bounced it on the ground for the first time," he said.

Tsering's basketball attracted many children in the village to play with him. Through the ball, he made a lot of friends, and they always played basketball together in the dirt near Tsering's house.

When he was 15, Tsering was sent to the county's middle school, where he had accessed to professional basketball training. Every weekend, he would return home, and organize a basketball match in the village.

In 2015, a basketball court was built by the local government in the village. Two brand-new basketball stands were set on a flat ground, providing a new, improved place to play basketball for local basketball lovers.

"These kids are luckier than I am. People of my age knew little about modern sports when we were young," said 43-year-old Dorje, a sports teacher in a local primary school. He was invited to be the referee today.

As a sports teacher, Dorje encourages kids from remote pasture areas to play basketball. "Local people now pay more attention to sports. The kids growing up on the plateau have good physiques, and some of them are quite talented in sports," he added.

With a long, loud blow of the whistle, Dorje ends the match. It was a close game, with Tsering's team claiming a narrow victory. The boys cheered and clapped their hands with each other.

"Sports means a lot. It helps strengthen our bodies, and it also brings us together," said 15-year-old Tashi from the opposing team, wiping away the sweat with his shirt.

The game also ignited onlookers' passion. A lama wearing red robes, stepped up and took the ball from Tsering's hand. With a slight jump, he sent the ball into the net, and nailed a three-pointer.

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

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