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Parkour ready to woo Beijing

By Lei Lei (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-12-24 08:20
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BEIJING - The world's top parkour team will come to China next year to woo local free-running fans at the second Red Bull National Parkour Tournament in May.

Originating in France in 1980s, parkour, which is also called free running, is a physical discipline which requires enthusiasts to overcome obstacles by adapting their movements to the environment.

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Participants run along a route, attempting to negotiate obstacles in the most efficient way, using only their bodies. Skills such as jumping, climbing, vaulting, rolling and swinging are employed.

A practitioner of parkour is called a traceur if male, or traceuse if female. The word is likely derived from the French slang "tracer" which means "to hurry" or "to move quickly".

Parkour can be practiced anywhere, but areas dense with obstacles are preferable, so it is most commonly practiced in urban areas.

The sport was brought to China in 2006 and has to date attracted about 200,000 participants.

Next year's event will be held at Chaoyang Park in Beijing. The first edition of the event was held in 2009 and featured 150 participants from 29 parkour clubs throughout the country.

Before the competition next May, a parkour training camp will be held in April. According to the organizers, the training camp will feature the world-renowned French parkour team, Yamakasi, which is considered the founder of the sport.

Members of the camp will go through five days of training and then 10 of them will take part in the competition the following month.

China Daily