Feature: New sports trending among Chinese youth

(Xinhua) 16:09, November 13, 2023

NANNING, China, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Amid the vibrant cheers of spectators encouraging athletes to ascend swiftly, a sport climbing arena in Mashan County, located in China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, became an unexpected hub of excitement.

This wasn't a scene from a conventional track and field or swimming event but rather an ordinary sport climbing competition.

"We have more than 20 schools equipped with climbing venues in Mashan," disclosed He Qi, coach of the Nanning climbing team. He observed that today's youth in China have a broader array of sports to choose from than ever before.

At the inaugural Student (Youth) Games in China, a spotlight shone on emerging sports like sport climbing, skateboarding, and breakdancing, captivating both spectators and the media.

Among the participants, Ge Aichen, an eight-year-old B-girl, stood out by finishing eighth in the women's individual breakdancing category. This achievement was notable, especially considering many contestants were under the age of ten. "Many young breakdancers have made great progress, which means the sport is improving in China," noted Guo Mingyi, coach of the Chengdu team.

Skateboarding, now part of the Olympic program alongside sport climbing and breakdancing, also made a significant impact at the Games. The audience was thrilled with the skateboarders' intricate skills, set against the stunning backdrop of Beihai, Guangxi. The sport's popularity is attributed to its alignment with the lifestyle of Chinese youth. "I just feel that skateboarding is cool and it can be played anywhere at any time," shared Gong Lu, a skateboarding enthusiast. Gong added that Chinese youth are increasingly exploring varied experiences, including sports like fencing, archery, and surfing.

The growth of emerging, outdoor, and smart sports was also a highlight of the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. According to Gan Lin, head of brand operation at Phoenix, a bicycle manufacturer, sports have transitioned into a lifestyle choice in China. Ayumi Shibahara, general manager of YONEX Shanghai Sports Goods Co., Ltd., echoed this sentiment.

"With China's development and material prosperity, sports have become an essential part of people's life as a spiritual necessity," she stated.

This trend is particularly pronounced among Chinese youth, where nearly any sport can now attract a diverse following.

Liu Guoyong, deputy director of the General Administration of Sport of China, emphasized this positive development during the Hangzhou Asian Games.

"More young people are participating in dynamic and fashionable emerging sports, which has greatly promoted young people's understanding and love towards sports," he remarked.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Zhong Wenxing)


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