Exchanges in sports get boost from new agreement

Updated: 2013-07-12 07:14

By Jin Haixing (China Daily)

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An agreement was signed on Thursday between Beijing and Macao to boost exchanges in sports, especially in wushu, the Chinese martial art.

The agreement, inked between the Beijing Bureau of Sports and the Macao Sport Development Board, provides a framework for cooperation. The two sides will work out details soon, said Tang Bin, a spokesman for the Beijing bureau.

Exchanges in sports get boost from new agreement

"Kung fu pandas" demonstrate their skills at a sports and martial arts exchange between young people from Beijing and Macao in the special administrative region on Thursday. Parker Zheng / China Daily

The two cities have already held joint programs in diving, swimming and wushu. The agreement paves the way for more exchange programs for not only professional athletes, but also non-professionals and the sports industry as a whole.

Zeng Tieming, 63, deputy secretary-general of the Federation of Macao Sport General Association and head coach of the Macao Wushu General Association, cited martial arts as a typical example of sports cooperation between the two cities.

Zeng is leading a 26-member team on two months of professional training at Beijing's Shichahai Sports School this summer, on a program that started in 2000.

They will have four hours of training each day, Zeng said.

Zeng said the athletes from Macao are amateurs but the Shichahai school can train them in a professional way.

Thanks to such exchanges, Macao's wushu athletes have made progress.

Jia Rui, who won Macao's first gold medal in the Asian Games in 2010, said he has come to Beijing for training every year since 2005.

In the Guangzhou event, Jia won the gold medal in the men's broadsword art and staff art category.

Important wushu events are usually held in the second half of each year, so intensive practice in summer is important. Jia is now training at the Shichahai school to prepare for the East Asian Games, to be held in October.

Zeng said the association has 76 sub-associations and the two cities have much potential for cooperation in many other sports.

In recent years, Macao has built many sports facilities. It now has five gymnasiums for wushu practitioners. With its improved infrastructure, Macao can also host professional training programs for athletes from Beijing, Zeng said.

Around 80 athletes took part in a joint wushu performance on Thursday in Macao during the Second Beijing Macao Cooperation and Exchange Symposium.

"We have practiced for about a month for this event in Macao, and I was really looking forward to it," Hao Long, 19, a member of the martial arts team from Beijing's Shichahai school, said after his performance.

"The performance with the Macao martial arts team is a good learning opportunity for me," said Hao, who is on his first visit to Macao.

Lin Jing in Macao contributed to this story.