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Chinese athletes shine at world martial arts meet

By MAY ZHOU in Fort Worth, Texas | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-11-22 09:31

Chinese athlete Liu Zhaohe competes at the 16th World Wushu Championships in Fort Worth on Friday. LIAO PAN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

The 16th World Wushu Championships concluded on Monday in Fort Worth, Texas, with the Chinese mainland winning 15 gold medals out of the total 40 to take the top spot.

Vietnam won second place with five gold medals, three silvers and three bronzes, while Macao came in third with five gold medals, two silvers and four bronzes. The United States, the host country, was placed 16th with one silver and three bronze medals.

The championships, which opened on Nov 15, drew about 600 wushu athletes from more than 50 countries and regions. The pool of participants was smaller than in previous years because of disruptions caused by the pandemic and US visa applications.

At the opening ceremony, host city Fort Worth presented a cowboy performing with his lasso and horse, winning applause from the athletes and audience. China sent a performance team including wushu master Zhao Changjun, who has won 56 medals in various competitions. Their outstanding skills also won applause from the audience.

Chen Zhongwei, CEO and president of title sponsor HYX, said at the opening ceremony that the significance of the championships extends beyond the sport.

"It's a platform for wushu enthusiasts worldwide to exchange ideas, learn from each other and experience the culture and spirit of wushu. It is not just about promoting health through practice, it's also about embedding the philosophy into our daily life."

Wushu "contributes spiritual awareness to the world", Chen said.

Zheng Jutian, coach for China's wushu team, said that wushu has taken root in many countries after China sent out coaches overseas in the past 20 years to help with their training.

"Ten or 20 years ago, we could predict with some certainty that Chinese athletes would win the gold, but that's not the case anymore. We don't know who will win until the competition is over," Zheng said.

"I can see from this year's competition that the athletes from other countries have been improving steadily over the years, and the best of them can match the best of Chinese players. This reflects wushu is indeed becoming a world sport."

During the championships, the committee of the International Wushu Federation elected Gao Zhidan, director of China's General Administration of Sport, as its chairman for the next term.

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