Championships enhance city's sports culture

Updated: 2015-05-21 07:46

By Sun Xiaochen(China Daily)

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Hosting the 2015 Sudirman Cup helped Dongguan forge a positive image as a vibrant city of sports where elite competition and sporting activities benefit residents.

While the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships finished on May 17, the badminton fever brought on by supporting crowds at the Nissan Sports Center during the event strengthened the already strong sports culture in the South China city.

Poul-Eric Hoyer, president of the Badminton World Federation, said he was impressed by the organization of the tournament as well as the sports participation in Dongguan.

"Our players and technical staff told me they were treated very well. The venue is second to none. The audience is there making the atmosphere for the players to produce their very best," Hoyer said during the eight-day tournament.

People in Dongguan not only enjoy watching the sport but playing badminton is a popular activity.

According to the city government of Dongguan, there are 100 badminton amateur clubs, 1,535 courts and 60 multipurpose sports facilities for hosting badminton competitions in the city, where more than 50,000 amateur enthusiasts play on a weekly basis.

"The game really has deep roots in the city and the people here are always passionate in appreciating badminton competitions," said Chinese national team head coach Li Yongbo, who set up a badminton school under his name in Dongguan.

The city has also made its mark on the country's sports map by hosting two elite Chinese Basketball Association clubs.

As the first privately owned professional basketball club in China, Guangdong Winnerway has won eight CBA titles since 2004, while another Dongguan-based club, New Century, has also performed well in recent years.

A group of locally grown basketball players, including Yi Jianlian, Zhu Fangyu and Li Muhao, have become national team stars, while the National Basketball Association-authorized Dongguan Basketball School is continuing to nurture talented players.

Inspired by sports achievements at the elite level, grassroots enthusiasm for basketball has grown in Dongguan, where more than 1,000 competitions are organized at all levels each year.

"Hosting the Sudirman Cup offers a great opportunity to promote Dongguan's appeal as a hotbed for sports while providing the world a window to see the progress the city has achieved toward civilization and harmony," said Xu Jianhua, Party chief of Dongguan.

(China Daily 05/21/2015 page7)