Just play and enjoy it

Updated: 2012-08-09 08:09

(China Daily)

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Aug 8 is National Fitness Day in China. This is the day when the Beijing Olympics was declared open in 2008. Since 2009, this day has been marked to encourage people to play sports, exercise and honor the Olympic spirit.

Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang's perseverance and optimism make him a perfect role model for this year's National Fitness Day.

Liu crashed to the ground at the first hurdle in the 110-meter hurdle heats at the London Olympics on Aug 7. His Achilles tendon became his Achilles heel again at the Olympics. He had taken only a few steps and withdrawn from the Beijing Olympic Games because of injury.

His exit disappointed millions of fans again. Yet most people sympathized with him because he has been a true inspiration for one and all.

Liu broke the 13-year-old world record in 2006 and maintained a high competitive level despite his serious tendon injuries. His coach said that his injuries have been so serious that he has to seek treatment for several months after running just one race.

Despite the difficulties Liu has won 36 races, come second in 6 and third in 3 others in 48 international competitions since 2000. He is the first Chinese hurdler to break a world record, and win gold both at the Olympic Games and the World Championships.

Liu's glorious, and at times painful, career gives him enough reason to hang up his boots. But he has not, for he is racing against himself. Each second he spends on the track is the result of years of rigorous, and often dull, training.

In doing so, Liu has taught us how to enjoy playing sports.

Liu has taught us how to be optimistic, too, by overcoming pressure, enjoying the competition and making friends. That's why even people outside China are worried about his health and fitness. But Liu comforts them with his infectious smile and his words: "Take it easy. It's only a game. Enjoy it."

Liu updated his micro blog before the 110-meter hurdle heats, saying: "I will enjoy my Olympics."

Let us also enjoy the sports we play and keep fit, for that is what National Fitness Day is all about, and hope that Liu is back to blaze another trail on the tracks soon.

(China Daily 08/09/2012 page8)