Feature: Kickboxing kindles enthusiasm of NW China's youth
LANZHOU, China, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Every afternoon, 24-year-old Xue Jinyu goes to the gym to meet up with her friends and train together. As a kickboxing trainer, this is her sixth year practising the sport.
Unlike her peers, Xue has been crazy for sports since she was a little girl. After trying athletics and basketball, she found her true passion in kickboxing.
"The first time I saw kickboxing, I knew I loved it and I could not wait to compete," she said. But there were no girls for her to spar with, so she went with boys instead.
"They are bigger, faster, and stronger, but I have no fear. I do not want to be looked down up," she said. Xue would show up at the gym every afternoon after her studies, and then train with other boys until closing time, jogging, stretching, and fighting against one another all day long.
"I never felt exhausted, because I was doing something I loved, and I felt lucky," she added.
In the third year at college, Xue had her first professional fixture. Her opponent was an Iranian girl, and Xue claimed a narrow win on a points decision.
"I was beaten up badly and my eyes were so swollen that in the end I could barely see my opponent, but I never let my hands down and I threw punches whenever I could," Xue said.
That victory bolstered her confidence, and when she graduated from college, she decided to become a professional kickboxing trainer.
On March 8, 2020, Zhang Weili defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk in Las Vegas in UFC 248 in the Women's Strawweight clash to become China's first UFC world champion. Xue stayed up late to watch the fight, and was so excited and encouraged. "She is my idol, and I want to be like her," Xue said.
Xue's enthusiasm and professionalism has made kickboxing the most popular discipline in her gym. She has to work to a tight schedule with at least 14 classes a week, but she enjoys it.
"Young people in cities are now under a lot of pressure, and kickboxing is a good way for them to release the tension and be ready for challenges in life, both mentally and physically," said Chang Rui, another trainer at Xue's gym. Enditem