Villagers get active in LanzhouUpdated: 2016-10-28
By Niu Haitang ( chinadaily.com.cn )
Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China’s Gansu province, initiated a citywide fitness program as part of its targeted poverty alleviation project, aiming to change the lifestyles of people in under-developed villages across the city.
In the past, villagers worked all day on farms and had little to do for entertainment, living an exhausting and tiring life. But now, the general health and wellbeing of the villagers has greatly improved as more and more rural areas are better equipped with sports facilities thanks to Lanzhou’s municipal sports bureau, along with other Party and government agencies.
“I have never dreamed to have the possibility of such things as exercise machines in our villages. I only saw them once downtown. Our lives are really getting better and better now,” said Zhang Yaoming with a smile, a villager from Longquan village, Yuzhong county.
It had been reported that Lanzhou would work hard to enact the province’s plans to help the rural poor. The city was scheduled to have 91 villages provided with fitness equipment by early November this year. The city also proposed completing the construction of exercise facilities in all the deprived villages by the end of 2020.
Statistics provided by the city’s sports bureau reveal that by the beginning of August, almost all the villages had established exercise and recreation centers of different sizes, averaging areas between 1,000 square meters and 5,000 sqm, and containing a variety of different sports equipment and facilities.
“With the sports and playground square, residents won’t worry about having nowhere to do exercise anymore,” said Li Faqi, the Party secretary of Jiaochang village in Yongde county. He added that 380 thousand yuan ($56,186) was spent building the square and 30 to 50 people dance and exercise there every day.
“Our village has been totally changed with the completion of this square which is equipped with facilities such as basketball stands and ping pong tables. Since then, the young play basketball, the elderly do exercises and the women dance. Our hometown is vibrant,” said Ma Peiqiang, head of the Renhe village committee.
Ma told the reporter that villagers did not feel as bored as when they could only play poker during their free time.
The targeted poverty relief strategy is to make all anti-poverty efforts well-focused and directed at the right places. The citywide fitness campaign, as an essential component of the strategy, serves to achieve a balance between urban and rural public services and meet the needs of a harmonious city and developing economy. Lanzhou’s sports administration coordinated with municipal Party committees that were concerned with a string of tasks involving venue inspections, procurement, and managing the bidding and tendering process for this project.
The program plans to create a system integrating exercise facilities, associations and societies, instructors, and health checks.
A man exercises at an outdoor gym. [Photo/gansu.gscn.com.cn]
Local residents are playing basketball at the local sports square. [Photo/gansu.gscn.com.cn]