Feature: Youth hockey booming in NW China
LANZHOU, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Constant tapping sounds were heard from the hockey pitch of the primary school of Jingyuan Normal College, in northwest China's Gansu Province.
The name of the small county and its hockey team have been increasingly well-known through the development of campus hockey in recent years.
Sixth-grader Dong Tongzhou, a defender from the school's hockey team, was on the squad when they won the U12 title at the 2021 National Youth Hockey Tournament last summer. "I hope that I can win more hockey championship titles in the future," said the boy who has been practicing hockey for more than two years.
"Watch the right-wing and play defensively," Dong motivated his teammates as the team fell behind.
Coach Dai Weiliang said that the mixed team, established in 2008, now has a total of more than 40 players.
"Hockey classes are implemented at different grades," said Dai, adding that after-school sessions would enrich children's activities.
"At the beginning, all team members had to practice on the basketball court," said school principal Wang Xiong, adding that the players worked hard even with a shortage of hockey sticks and equipment.
Wang found that the students have become more confident after taking up hockey.
In 2008, to promote the sport, the Sports School of Jingyuan County began to send hockey coaches to carry out training courses for students' clubs and after-school sessions from primary to high schools.
Last year, 20 schools were registered under the Chinese Hockey Association, of which ten were in west China. The Sports School of Jingyuan County was named one of the National Olympic Reserve Bases for hockey talents, and the Primary School of Jingyuan Normal College was listed as the sport's promotional school.
As a result, youth hockey is booming in places such as Jingyuan, Lanzhou, Jiayuguan and other areas in Gansu Province.
"The young hockey players who participate in regular training in Gansu span the age groups of primary school, junior high school and senior high school," said Wang Xiangchen, director of Gansu Province's Administration of Sport.