Sports\Team China

National Games will benefit all levels of athletes

By Sun Xiaochen in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-26 07:16

Innovations in the National Games are poised to benefit the country's sports development at both elite and grassroots levels.

The 13th Chinese National Games will kick off at Tianjin's Olympic Center Stadium on Sunday with the expectation that reforms and sustainability will boost the athletic performance of professionals and the sports participation of the public.

The National Games are the highest-level multisport meeting in China that take place every four years. The Tianjin games have attracted 10,217 athletes from 38 provincial delegations to compete in 33 sports through Sept 8.

The new format to allow cross-delegation squads to compete in 49 team events of 10 sports, including swimming, table tennis and cycling, is one of the most significant reforms adopted at the games.

Under the new rules, top athletes from different delegations could join hands to compete in their respective team event, aimed at improving their chemistry through the high-profile test to prepare for bigger events such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

National Games will benefit all levels of athletes

Each of the delegations involved in the mixed squad will be rewarded equally with respective medals if their athletes win the competition.

In table tennis, eight out of the 16 pairs that qualified for the mixed doubles final round are cross-delegation teams.

China's world champion diving duo Shi Tingmao and Chang Yani won the women's 3-meter springboard final in Tianjin on Wednesday as a mixed-province pair after their victory at the Budapest World Aquatics Championship in July.

Diving is one of events at the National Games that began ahead of the opening ceremony.

"The new rule allows us to keep testing our synchronization through big competitions," Shi said. "It also gives each of our teams a decent chance to obtain better results than before."

"Hopefully, this reform improves the allocation of resources and provides more flexibility for elite team athletes to improve their skills to the utmost," said Yang Guoqing, principal of Nanjing Sport Institute.

To inspire greater public participation in sports, the Tianjin organizing committee accepted square dancing as a demonstration event at the National Games for the first time. A team made of 128 senior square dancers selected from an online contest will perform during the opening ceremony.

"To involve mass sports enthusiasts such as these dancers will ignite the passion of the public for fitness activities," said Yang Guangyu, an official from the General Administration of Sport of China's mass sports department.

The National Games will also leverage its infrastructure resources to benefit mass sports participation as 15 out of 21 new venues were built on campuses and urban centers in Tianjin funded by universities and the private sector.

The games will use 26 existing venues, with 15 of them refurbished not only for staging the competitions but also providing better exercise facilities for the public.

(China Daily 08/26/2017 page4)

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