Sat, 23 Oct 2021

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62-year history of the National Games has witnessed the Chinese sports development.

By sportswriters Hu Jiali, Fu Ruixia and Wang Chunyan

XI'AN, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Su Bingtian from Guangdong Province clocked 9.95 seconds to win the men's 100m final at the 14th National Games last Tuesday, but it took him 12 years to collect his first gold medal from his fourth appearance in the national sports extravaganza.

Su, who lowered the Asian 100m record to 9.83 seconds at the Tokyo Olympics last month, became the first athlete to break the 10-second barrier in the 62-year history of the Games.

As one of the most striking sports in the world, track and field has been featuring in the competition agenda since the inaugural Games in 1959, and producing world-caliber stars to the cheers of the fans both at home and abroad, such as high jumper Zhu Jianhua and hurdler Liu Xiang, both former world record holders.

At the 5th National Games in 1983, Zhu, a Shanghai native, cleared 2.37 meters to break the world record of the men's high jump in the Games qualification on June 11, and bettered it to 2.38 meters three months later in the final.

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The Xi'an Olympic Sports Center, recently certified as a Level 1 venue by the World Athletics, was the stage for the opening and closing ceremonies and also hosted the track and field events of the Games.

Shaanxi has taken the National Games as an opportunity to make up for its deficiencies in sporting infrastructure and to better provide the public with sporting spaces after the Games.

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As the centerpiece of the Games, the sports center will be open to the public with a combination of paid and free access, and locals will be guaranteed a "super stadium" view.

"There is an increasing number of sporting venues around us, and all of them are surrounded by a beautiful landscape, equipped with quality facilities and competitively priced," said Liu Ying, a Xi'an native doing physical exercises every day.

To provide a verdant cycling route for the public, the ecological and historical resources of the Qinling Mountains have been utilized to build a network of greenways.

"It's a good environment to cycle in, and the view of mountains and river is elegant," said cycling enthusiast Zhang Tao.

Inspired by the national fitness strategy, several major sporting and fitness-related projects have been launched in Shaanxi. A total of 628 football pitches, 87 county-level public sports venues, 81 sports parks, fitness trails and multi-functional fitness venues have been built across the province.

SHAANXI, FIRST WESTERN HOST PROVINCE

Before 1983, the Games had been hosted only in Beijing, and until the 10th Games in 2005, it was only Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong who took turns in hosting the Games.

"Before the sixth National Games in 1987, Sichuan Province was approved by the State Council to host the seventh National Games. However, the State Council made a final announcement in 1988 that based on the economic and financial situation of China, the National Games will only be held in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong on a rotational basis," explained Yuan Weimin, the former director of General Administration of Sport of China.

As the reform and opening-up policy deepened, China's economy has been thriving and many provinces and cities become capable of hosting major sports games.

In 2001, Jiangsu was awarded the right to host the 10th National Games for the first time outside the previous trio. Shandong, Liaoning and Tianjin were granted the right to host the next three editions of the Games.

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Hosted in central and western China for the first time, the 14th National Games is regarded as an opportunity for Shaanxi to promote its development and strengthen its infrastructure.

With changes taking place in almost every area, the Games is just the epitome of the rapid development of western China.

And athletes from across the world will also have their own glimpses through the upcoming World Universiade 2022 in Chengdu, the capital city of southwest Sichuan Province.

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The 15th National Games will return to Guangdong in 2025, but this time the southern province is to be joined by Hong Kong and Macao, marking the first time that the two Special Administrative Regions will also become hosts of the Games.

Some participants from Hong Kong and Macao are looking forward to the 15th National Games with four years to go.

Cheng King Leung, acting head of the Hong Kong delegation, believes the next National Games would be a chance for Hong Kong's next generation.

"I'd say the youth of Hong Kong should participate in sports more often, and inherit the sportsmanship of the Chinese people," he said.

"I'm looking forward to meeting all of you at the next National Games," said Au Chi Kun, manager of the Macao track and field team.

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