From the Chinese Press

Updated: 2013-09-05 07:45

(China Daily)

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Play sports to love sports

The unpretentious opening ceremony of the 12th National Games in Shenyang, Liaoning province, has surprised many people who have become used to grand opening galas. But such people should realize that celebration of sports, not grand opening ceremonies, makes sports event a success. More importantly, organizers can save precious public funds by keeping opening ceremonies simple, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:

The simplicity of the 12th National Games conforms to the government's policy of reducing waste and shunning extravagance. It is also a call to the people to play sports rather than just watch it live or on TV.

The move, however, is not meant to deny people the joy of watching a well-orchestrated gala highlighting the Olympic spirit of peace, camaraderie and friendship. The problem is that many local governments use such events to project their image and, in the process, mix up extravagant opening ceremonies with the importance of sports.

Recent years have seen the outstanding performance of Chinese athletes in international competitions. But the glory of competitive sports, though unparalleled, turns us blind to some problems. We forget that Chinese people lag behind their counterparts in many countries in terms of mass participation in sports and youths' fitness level.

If China, which has amazed the world with the performance of its athletes, could also become a country of physically fit people by learning a lesson from the rather frugal 12th National Games, it would be a dream come true.

(China Daily 09/05/2013 page9)