Crossbow regenerate in southwest China
By Sportswriter Li Hualiang
CHENGDU, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Team Liangshan, powerhouse of crossbow shooting, didn't get on the podium of some events of crossbow shooting at the ongoing 15th Sichuan Ethnic Games, but Ma Zhengfa, leader of the team, didn't mind a bit.
After retiring from fighting and hunting for a very long time, crossbow has got back to work in southwest China as a sport event.
Taking aim, firing and competitors trying to hit the bull's eye, the game of crossbow shooting is similar to archery, but the shooters don't need to pull the bow while they put the arrow in a slot to fire it with a trigger.
Most of the Team Liangshan's shooters are ethnic Yi, living in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture of southwest China's Sichuan Province which holds the China's largest ethnic Yi community.
"Crossbow is part of life for our group of people," said Ma Zhengfa. "I started to play with crossbow when I was seven years old."
In 1995, Ma Zhengfa led Team Sichuan for the first time to compete in the 5th Chinese Ethnic Games and four shooters of ethnic Yi took all gold medals of crossbow shooting.
At the ongoing 15th Sichuan Ethnic Games, shooters of Team Liangshan got on the podium as long as they took part in the competition.
"We didn't sign up for some events in crossbow shooting so that other teams will have more chances to win, and it will arouse people's initiative of crossbow shooting," said Ma Zhengfa.
The traditional crossbow is made of wood and the arrow is made of bamboo. Ma Zhengfa is known as "carpenter Ma" because he is good at making it.
According to Ma, an excellent shooter ought to understand the crossbow. A lot of details in making and competition will be kept an eye on, such as material choice, bake temperature, solidity of arrow, etc.
Ma Zhengfa had introduced these details to his team members and some of them are now coaches of crossbow shooting teams in other places.
Also, some teams went to Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture to learn about crossbow. Team Panzhihua did that and won the first prize of Traditional Crossbow Mixed Group in 15th Sichuan Ethnic Games.
"I am really happy to see Team Panzhihua's win. Crossbow cannot regenerate if we block others out. Time flies, but the courage and fortitude which crossbow shooting represents never change and worth being carried forward." said Ma Zhengfa.