Feature: Local coach Sun sows seeds of hockey in campus in NW China
LANZHOU, July 17 (Xinhua) -- National championships and over 20 talents in provincial and national teams keep pushing Sun Jiangang forward to fulfill his dream of making more youth enjoy hockey.
The 45-year-old hockey coach has led the Sports School of Jingyuan County, Gansu province in northwest China from nobody to national champions. He has never stopped promoting campus hockey over the past decade.
"There was a lack of hockey equipments in school when I became the only coach in 2008, except for several balls and sticks," said Sun, adding that the team could only practice on a basketball court.
In addition, Sun also faced the problem that parents usually preferred their children focusing on studies rather than playing hockey when the hockey team was founded in 2008, and all the players could only practice hockey after school and on weekends.
"I tried to ease their concerns and persuade them in encouraging their kids to stay," said Sun.
His team has participated in national youth hockey championships for over a decade and won three titles since 2009.
The development of his players is inseparable from the improvement of local hockey facilities.
Three 6-a-side hockey fields and an 11-a-side hockey field have been built in Jingyuan County since 2008. The number of hockey coaches in Sun's school has increased from one to four.
Sun noticed that not only did his players improve their academic performance, they also obtained confidence in various sports events.
Sun's team has been to many other places to carry out training during summer and winter vacations, and his players trained and competed with other children across the country.
"Vacation training improves their technical and tactical level and broaden their horizons," said Sun.
Hockey has become more and more popular in Jingyuan County and more parents would like to encourage their kids to enjoy hockey over the past few years.
Gao Xiang, headmaster of the Sports School of Jingyuan County, said that the hockey team has more than 150 players now.
"The school has sent over 200 hockey talents to different colleges and more than 20 players have joined the national youth hockey teams," Gao said.
Yang Faxiang joined Sun's team as the first batch of players in 2008. He has played in two international events representing China. The 25-year-old finished fourth with Gansu hockey team at the 14th National Games last year.
"Hockey has changed my life and I love it," Yang said.
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 in 2008.
20 schools were registered under the Chinese Hockey Association in 2021, of which 10 are located in west China. The Sports School of Jingyuan County was accredited the National Olympic Reserve Bases for hockey talents.
"There are more and more young hockey players in Gansu Province," said Wang Xiangchen, director of Gansu Administration of Sports, adding that children who took part in training in Gansu range from primary school, junior high school to senior high school.