Southwest China’s Guizhou province had covered 94 percent of townships and 90 percent of administrative villages with rural exercise project as of the end of the last year.
Each permanent resident of Guizhou enjoys an average of 1.53 square meters of sport space, and 10 sports-themed ecological parks have been constructed in the province.
Hebin Park, located in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province, is known among the local community for a “fitness square” that houses all kinds of public fitness equipment, such as horizontal and parallel bars, horizontal ladders, wall bars and arm trainers. It is a fitness paradise for many senior residents living in nearby neighborhoods.
Wa Longzhang, 74, is one of the frequenters. The man is able to finish four to five giant swings in one sitting on a 2-meter-high horizontal bar. The 80-year-old Wang Zhihua is also a fitness star in the park. It’s easy for him to complete a dozen bench presses with two 8.5-kilogram dumbbells.
Apart from the two, there are also many other senior residents doing workout at the park. Many of them are well equipped, wearing fitness vests, gloves, wrist guards, knee pads and pull ropes.
“A few years earlier, residents usually came here to do fitness dancing,” Wa told People’s Daily. The man doesn’t look like a septuagenarian at all, whose strong arms appear even more muscular with his black fitness vest.
It was in 2016 that the park was turned into a fitness paradise, after the sports bureau of Guiyang allocated a special fund and upgraded fitness equipment there. The decision was made upon the suggestions of the groups who are not into dancing but want to stay fit.
Gouba village in Guizhou’s Zunyi has built an fitness path that satisfies the exercise demands of all villagers, despite their ages.
Along the path, there are fitness equipment tailored for seniors, such as upper limb retractor, Tai chi pushing-hand machine, orbit fitness equipment for balance and outdoor chess table, as well as rowing machine, treadmill and other fitness equipment favored by the youngsters.
The neighboring Huamao village even built an outdoor basketball court.
“These equipment are very practical and offer suitable choices for all of us,” said Lu Yongzhi from Gouba village.
Zhijin county of Bijie in northwest Guizhou once suffered scarcity of public sports spaces due to its terrains and insufficient economic support.
With the help of the General Administration of Sport of China, the county transformed a waste plant into a modern fitness and sports center in 2018. The center has three badminton courts, two basketball courts, as well as an area for ping-pong tables and a fitness zone.
“With the indoor fitness and sports center, residents now have a decent place to go for exercise in rainy days,” said Yuan Mingqin, deputy executive of the county government. The center is also a training base for backup athletes, Yuan added.
Now, over 30 sport events are organized for residents each year in Zhijin county, helping the county build its own brand of sports events.
Guizhou province, boasting rich natural landscape resources, is a perfect place for outdoor sport activities.
In 2017, the General Administration of Sport approved a plan to support Guizhou province in building a national demonstration zone for sports tourism and exploring the integration of sports and tourism.
In the same year, Malangdie village, Panzhou city, Guizhou province upgraded its traditional swing program with the earning from the welfare sports lottery. The swing project, which combines traditional sport with tourism, has restructured the employment of the village, which is dwelled by people of Yi ethnic group. The village’s young people working out-of-town have returned home and started running agritainment facilities and Yi ethnic clothes business.
The donation of traditional sports equipment has led to flourishing sports and cultural activities in the village, said Yu Erlong, Party head of the village, who believes that these activities have played an important role in the inheritance and protection of the traditional sports culture and intangible culture of the Yi ethnic group.
The sports-tourism businesses have also tremendously changed the lives of local villagers. “The swings have attracted many tourists, who come for sightseeing, entertainment and leisure,” said Yu, adding that the village received over 100,000 tourists over the past three years, which also drove the sales of local farm produce.
Apart from traditional sports activities, outdoor sports such as rock climbing, hiking and adventure are also popular. For instance, Suiyang county in Zunyi has established a demonstration base of mountain adventure to facilitate economic growth with sports-tourism products.