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Parkour sports competition in Tianmen Mountain

News 2023/08/11 View:480

Kong vault, lache, palm spin, side flips and the wall run. Over 80 parkour runners from China and abroad performed these spectacular moves as they competed at the Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park in Zhangjiajie.

Competitors were challenged to complete a sequence of jumps and flips down a nearly 300-meter-long slope with a 150-meter vertical drop from the top of the 999-step staircase, which leads to the iconic Tianmen Cave.

The competition, held late last month, featured an individual speed run, an individual skills challenge and a team race, with the individual speed run being the most challenging. Over 100 sets of obstacles were placed along the course, and competitors needed to maintain their balance while performing at full speed.

"I could have done better," says Chinese competitor Zhou Mianwei, who won the speed run category with a time of 1:35.505.

Zhou has been practicing parkour since 2015. "The spirit of parkour is to dedicate yourself to it and enjoy it," Zhou says, adding that parkour has evolved from a hobby into a way of life for him. "I enjoy the sound of the wind in my ears during practice. I will finish faster in the next race."

Yang Xiaoqiang, a 24-year-old participant from Guizhou province, won the skills race and came second in the speed race.

Yang reveals that he had practiced almost every move in the race "at least 1,000 times". Due to the unique terrain of the Tianmen Mountain, he had to undertake more difficult challenges but once again prevailed.

The competition also attracted some renowned sporting figures, including Shang Chunsong, former captain of China's national women's gymnastics team. After Shang started practicing parkour last year, she found similarities between gymnastics and parkour, including strength and body movement.

This is the second time the Tianmen Mountain has hosted a national parkour competition, and this year's competition features new events and new participants, especially children and overseas runners.

As parkour has become a trending sport among Chinese teenagers in recent years, the competition included a children's category, attracting 40 participants aged between 8 and 1

An attendee surnamed Han, from Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, brought his 11-year-old son to Zhangjiajie to compete in the children's category.

According to Han, after trying different kinds of sports, his son is particularly fond of parkour. "Although he's only been training for a year, his abdominal muscles are firm now," Han says, adding that children can benefit from the mental and physical challenges of parkour.

"This is the biggest and most difficult course I've ever seen, and it's really exhausting," says Kacper Kosmider, a 20-year-old Polish parkour and traceur practitioner, adding that sport is a "universal language" and that parkour has become a perfect means of communication between competitors.

"When we compete with overseas players, we just need to make a gesture or movement to understand each other and overcome the language barrier," says Teng Gaozheng from Hubei province.

According to Wang Yanmin, an international parkour judge with the International Gymnastics Federation and chief director of this year's competition, parkour was introduced to China between 2005 and 2006.

"National parkour competitions were inaugurated in 2009, and a national training team for parkour was established in 2019," Wang says.

Wang adds that the majority of Chinese parkour enthusiasts are aged between 6 and 13, and from 18 to 38 years old.

"There are at least two professional parkour clubs or more than a dozen training institutions for children's parkour with a presence in most major cities in China," he says.

Chinese parkour runners Hei Yichen perform stunts at a competition at the Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park.

Source from Xinhua

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