Quadrennial Chinese national ethnic games opens
( 2003-09-07 08:18) (Xinhua)
The Seventh National Games for Traditional Sports of Minority Nationalities raised its curtain in Yinchuan, Northwest China's Ningxia Province, on Saturday with an entry of over 3,700 ethnic athletes from 34 delegations.
Chinese vice premier Hui Liangyu declared open the week-long games, which gathers the 55 Chinese minority nationalities which account about 8.4 percent of the nation's population of 1.3 billion.
The quadrennial ethnic sports gala features 14 medal sports including archery, wrestling, martial arts and horse racing as well as 126 demonstration events which derived from the favored ethnic folk plays.
"Stilts running race" was introduced to the games for the first time as a medal event. All the contenders were required to run on stilts in the special sprint event, which takes its source from Miao nationality from Hunan province, where ancient people walk on stilts to escape from the frequent floodwater.
Dragon-boat racing, shuttle-cock kicking, a diversion for ethnic people in Yunnan, and swing, a favorite leisure activity for the Korean communities distributed in Northeast China, are also title events.
The other title sports are wooden ball, a sport played in a way similar to that of ice hockey; one-one tug of war, a favorite sport in Tibet, Southwest China; top-whipping, an entertainment for ethnic minorities in Southwest China; firecracker-catching, an action-packed sport nicknamed "Chinese rugby"; and pearl ball, a game in which athletes dribble and pass balls like handballers and score goals like basketballers.
The games was inaugurated in 1953. After an abeyance of 29 years, the second games was held in Hohhot of Inner Mongolia in 1982. Since then it was regulated to be held every four years.
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