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Sports Boost Rural Influence

Minsheng Weekly August 21, 2023

By NewsChina Updated Nov.1

Soccer tournaments held in rural Rongjiang County, Guizhou Province in May exemplify the prevailing spirit of sportsmanship across the country. The tradition dates back to 1944 when Guangxi University was temporarily relocated to Rongjiang during wartime and introduced soccer to the region. Decades later, soccer has maintained its enduring influence. This year, the tournament attracted huge attention after being livestreamed nationwide. Sports commentators praised the events, prominent national club teams challenged the local champions and former England star Michael Owen sent a video greeting. Apart from soccer, basketball competitions and a marathon in other Guizhou counties won unexpected popularity. Despite their growing fame, these events are expected to preserve their rustic charm without being tarnished by commercial interests. Many believe these grassroots tournaments provide a new spark of hope for China’s struggling soccer and basketball programs.