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Sport makes health fun

Former educator helps raise hockey-like game to greater heights, Hou Chenchen reports.

By Hou Chenchen | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-22 11:12
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Chen Xin coaches her daughter in floorball in Songjiang district, Shanghai, in 2013. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Asian Winter Games in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, may seem a distant prospect as most parts of China are basking in sunshine and rising temperatures. A far cry from the chilly blasts of winter, however, even in this climate, an "alternative ice sports" from Europe is gaining popularity.

The story has an unlikely beginning in 2002 when physical education teacher Chen Xin, then 27, stepped into a Swedish sports club in Shanghai.

The Shanghai International Studies University teacher had felt there was a significant decline in students' enthusiasm for sports and wanted to find out about activities that might appeal to young people.

At the club, Chen witnessed a spirited game — amid towering Swedish athletes, a petite girl held her own, moving about her competitors with fervor and determination and using her small stature swiftly and effectively in defense and offense.

It was Chen's first encounter with floorball, and she found it exhilarating, engaging and, more importantly, safe and easy to grasp.

"That's the sport I'd been searching for," Chen recalls.

Floorball, also known as indoor bandy, is a type of floor hockey with each team consisting of five players and a goalkeeper wielding sticks with plastic netting in place of blades. The ball is also plastic and has holes.

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