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Water sport events put Pingtan on the map

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2016-09-22

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As the third round of the 2016 International Kiteboarding World Championships splashed down in Pingtan this week, the island city in Fujian province has soaked up a huge amount of global publicity.

A number of kitesurfers ranked among world's top 50 have come to Pingtan to attend the world championship, which is organized by the International Kiteboarding Association, attracting a huge number of domestic and global media titles.

Pingtan's beach is lined with broadcast vans for some 40 television networks, including CNN, ESPN and Fox Sports, which are beaming footage of the event to 150 countries and regions.

The International Sailing Federation's overseas media partners are also covering all the action, as well as producing documentaries about the championships.

The action got started on the morning of Sept 21 with the men's airstyle category, with 16 kitesurfers trying to impress the panel of five international judges for a place in the finals.

The highlight was a jaw-dropping 1080-degree spin pulled off by one UK athlete, which caused a stir among the audience and even the judges.

Next up were two preliminary rounds of the women's airstyle event, in which eight athletes took part. They had just three minutes to wow the judges with their best tricks. Hou Chia-ling from Taiwan and local athlete Chen Jingyue both qualified for the final.

The men's wave riding got underway in the afternoon, the first time the event has been held in China. The fierce competition was led by Brazilian riders Pedro Matoz and Filippe Ferreira, the French athlete Sebastian Diego and Australian James Carew. The Brazilian duo will go on to battle for the championship, while the French and Australian riders will have to settle for fighting it out over the bronze medal.

The second national kitesufring championship was also held alongside the IKA event, capping an excellent day for Pingtan's watersports scene.

The island received a further boost during the opening ceremony, when Zhang Xiuli, a senior official from China's General Administration of Sport, announced that Pingtan is to be designated a national base for kitesurfing.

Pingtan is now looking to build on this success. Lin Jiangling, deputy director of Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, endorsed Pingtan's advantages as a venue for high-profile watersports events, saying that Pingtan boasts rich wind resources and extensive coastline.