Sports games liven the desert up in NW China
YINCHUAN, China, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- On the steep sand dunes, Ding Yongmei and a group of runners in shorts "climbed" with all strength in their racing tracks separated by colored ribbons, which brought passion and vitality to the vast Tengger desert, the fourth-largest desert in China.
"It's much more tiring than running a 400-meter race, but it is interesting," said the 17-year old. The 60-meter runway in the desert left Ding breathless and exhausted on the soft sand, and she had to keep kneading two legs to reduce the muscular soreness.
Ding was racing in "Climbing the sand dunes," a fun sports item in the 2020 Ningxia desert sports contest, which is being held at the famous Shapotou scenic spot in Zhongwei City, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, where Tengger Desert and the Yellow River, China's second-longest river, meet.
Ding is good at running a 200-meter and 400-meter race, and she was acknowledged as a national second rank athlete in both items just one month ago. It took her 27 seconds to climb the sand dune and won the women's championship.
"It was so steep that I made a strategy change and climbed with a constant speed," said Ding, who attributed her victory to regular training for explosive power and stamina.
Ma Xue, Ding's peer and opponent, was six seconds behind. It was the first time for Ma to run a race in the desert, and she would have been too exhausted to finish the game, if not for the encouragement from her teammates.
"I can feel my strength is losing in the soft sand, but my teammates cheer me up to keep climbing," said Ma. "It reminds me of the old days when my classmates always cheered for me loud in school sports meetings."
According to the organizers, the 2020 Ningxia desert sports contest lasts for three days, with 12 disciplines attracting over 800 sports lovers to take part. Apart from regular sports items such as beach volleyball and beach football, games like climbing-sand-dunes and tug-of-war are also popular with a high degree of participation and more fun.
Desert judose is also included. Known as a famous folk game in China, judose, a game of two, is a part of childhood for many adults. One needs to cross a foot upon the knee of another leg, then he or she can hop within a certain circle to attack and defend with the crossed knees until the other falls to group or hops outside the circle.
On the competition site of desert judose, the audience stood in a big circle to cheer for the competitors inside, and applause can be heard from the crowd now and again. Ma participated in this game on Friday and she won the champion of the women's group.
"It is so interesting and I love this interaction! I really hope there will be more desert games like this in the future," said Ma.
Next to the competition site of desert judose, some other competitors were fighting hard in the desert steeplechase. They had to crawl through a pile-net, run a hurdle race, take a kangaroo jump and finish a fixed-point throwing, the one with the shortest duration won, according to the referee Liu Gengsheng.
"Those assignments add more fun to the game and attract over 100 people to compete," said Liu. "Our aim is to help as many as people to love sports, and I believe it has been realized."
30-year-old Yuan Lumei was one of the competitors, and she finishes the steeplechase within 53 seconds. "I feel like going back to my childhood! It's been a long time that I hadn't had so much fun," she smiled. Enditem