Ex-IOC chief Rogge a wushu wizard?

Updated: 2014-08-18 23:59

By Sun Xiaochen in Nanjing(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge has been a regular tai chi disicple after falling in love with the traditional Chinese martial art, said a Chinese martial arts official.

People in Nanjing's should not be surprised if they see Rogge practicing tai chi in local neighborhoods during the Youth Olympic Games as the former IOC head has started to study regularly with a Chinese teacher.

"The president is actually quite fond of the martial art form. He wrote to us last year that he wished he could have a chance to learn it from a Chinese master," Wang Xiaolin, special representative of International Wushu Federation and former president of Chinese Wushu Association (CWA), told a press conference during the Nanjing Youth Olympics on Monday.

The CWA appointed Wang Fang, a renowned tai chi master from Guangdong province, to teach Rogge, who stepped down from the IOC presidency in September 2013 and became the honorable president of the IOC.

The Belgian has taken three classes on tai chi training during his stay at the Nanjing YOG and he shows some progress, said Wang.

During his tenure as IOC president, Rogge made his interests in wushu, which is the Chinese name for martial arts, clear when he observed the training of Chinese martial arts national teams and paid a special visit to the famous Shaolin Temple to watch monks practicing.

An international martial arts competition was approved by the IOC to be held for the first time together with Olympic Games in 2008 as a demonstration event. Wnag said this is evidence of Rogge's interests in wushu, said Wang.

Rogge will also attend the Nanjing YOG's wushu competition as a guest. He will present medals to victorious athletes on Aug 24 after reigning IOC President Thomas Bach awards the first wushu gold medal in Nanjing on Aug 22.

The martial arts competition of the Nanjing YOG will take place between Aug 22-24 in the city's Gaochun district with 100 athletes from 35 countries and regions competing in two major categories that include 15 events.