Original title: Chinese folk fitness culture impresses foreign athletes
Athletes climb the Badaling Great Wall.Photo courtesy of Yanqing District Media Center
Report from our newspaper (Reporter Li Yao) In the past week, at the National Snowmobile and Sled Center “Snow Dragon”, the International Snowmobile Federation’s snowmobile and frame snowmobile international training weeks and official competitions were held one after another. Using their free time during training and competition, Yanqing District, where the event was held, invited more than 200 athletes and coaches from 18 countries and regions to visit historical and cultural sites such as the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Badaling Great Wall in batches to appreciate the culture of the ancient capital. In the Temple of Heaven Park, foreign athletes learned to play shuttlecock from “Uncle Tiantan” and said excitedly, “It’s cool and very special.”
In the early morning, the air in Temple of Heaven Park is fresh and the environment is quiet. In the fitness area near the east gate, the “Tiantan Masters” who are doing fitness are welcomed as usual. Standing on the bench, an old man wearing a red down jacket and gray sweatpants was doing splits and handstands. “Temple of Heaven Park is not only a world cultural heritage, but also a favorite fitness base for Beijingers. Especially the ‘Tiantan Master’ with unique skills like this, many of whom are Internet celebrities.” English tour guide Li Bo took the athletes to watch while walking. Knowing that the uncle was over 70 years old, everyone looked at him approvingly.
Kicking back and forth, kicking left and right, kicking in circles, jumping… Over there, several “Tiantan uncles” were kicking shuttlecocks in a circle, and their fancy kicks were dazzling. Seeing the international friends stopping by, the uncles enthusiastically invited them to join in, jump, spin, kick…the athletes who were born with well-developed sports cells learned the skills well and said excitedly, “It’s cool, very special!”
In the distance, several German athletes were trying out fitness equipment such as spacewalkers and back massagers. There were also athletes who were learning stretching exercises from the “Temple of Heaven” to experience the unique Chinese folk fitness culture.
After visiting the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven, and the Circular Mound Altar, the athletes came to the Forbidden City. With their initial impression of Chinese imperial architecture, everyone asked questions one after another. “Why is the Forbidden City called the Forbidden City? How long did it take to build?” “The door nails of the Forbidden City are nine horizontally and nine vertically. Why did many places in ancient China like to use the number ‘nine’…” Li Bo answered patiently one by one. Seeing that there were many Chinese tourists wearing Ming and Qing costumes at the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City, the athletes were also interested in asking questions to learn about the characteristics of the costumes of the different dynasties of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Inspired by Chinese tourists, some athletes also wore Qing Dynasty royal costumes to take photos.
Athletes also climbed the Badaling Great Wall, passed through watchtowers, overlooked the scenery on the ridge, and appreciated the majesty of the Great Wall in winter. “It’s so cool to climb the Great Wall today. The Great Wall has a long history and profound cultural heritage. These ancient ‘stones’ amaze me!” said Jane Channell, a skeleton athlete from Canada.
From November 17th to 19th, the 2023-2024 International Bobsleigh and Bobsleigh World Cup Yanqing competition was officially held. During this trip to China, the athletes not only competed in competitive level, but also experienced China’s profound cultural heritage and urban vitality. Before parting, the organizer presented the athletes with their favorite Chinese shuttlecock. “Sports is the bridge of our friendship. I hope this bridge will be strong and permanent!”
(Editors: Chi Mengrui, Bao Congying)
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