Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Archery Becomes a Fashion in China

Archery Becomes a Fashion in China

XI'AN, China, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- In the men's compound competition of the 2007 Asian Archery Championships here on Monday, Cai Shuo did his best to take the fourth place.

A student from the Capital Sports Institute, Cai is one of about 15,000 modern Chinese who fell in love with the fashionable sport of archery.

"Chinese compound archers are very different from their peers who practice recurve," said Wang Jizhong, team leader of the Chinese compound archery team.

"Because compound archery is not an Olympic event, the archers are economically independent," he added. "They spend their own money for training."

In China, if you practice an Olympic sport and are selected to national or provincial teams, you do not have to worry about money and facilities for training. However, most of non-Olympic players in China do not enjoy as much support, especially economically, from the government.

"Our players all have their own work to do and they practice archery in spare time at local clubs. We only gather when there are major international competitions," said Wang, who runs his own archery club in Beijing.

"We've got about 1,200 regular members in our club and there are no less than 15,000 people who play in archery clubs all over the country."

Wang, formerly a government official, was the first one to set up an archery club in China. Then it spread to other cities including Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Sichuan.

"More and more people have become interested in the sport," Wang said. "It has become kind of fashion that enjoy particular popularity among the white-collar."

It is also an affordable sport to ordinary people. You only have to spend 30 to 40 RMB (about four to six US dollars) per hourto have fun in an archery club in China.

However, if you want to play with your own bows and arrows, it will be much more expensive. A decent compound bow costs about 10,000 RMB (about 1,300 U.S. dollars).

"At present, most of the bows are imported from the United States and South Korea," Wang said. "We are trying to have bows made in China in order to make them cheaper and more affordable."

Wang expected a great future of the sport in China, especially the compound archery.

"For the beginners, compound is much easily than recurve. The young and old, man and woman, all can play," Wang said. "The oldest compound player in the Chinese National Championship is 73,do you believe it?"

"I believe this event will have a great future."

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