Sports exchange blooms among BRICS countries

Updated 2017-06-23 16:58:14 Xinhua

Springing from the floor brandishing a long wooden stick, Michele Silva Dos Santos described an elegant arc through the air.

It is the 2017 BRICS Games and the 25-year-old Brazilian wushu practitioner deeply impressed Chinese audience.

"It's hard to believe such a routine was performed by a foreigner," said Chen Guizhen, a famous Chinese martial arts master.

Some 300 athletes from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, gathered in south China's Guangzhou to compete in men's basketball, women's volleyball and wushu.

It is not the first time Santos and her coach Luiz Carlos Nascimento Da Silva have been to China. Four years ago, in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province, she spent a month in intensive training, trading blows with Chinese masters.

South Africa's women's volleyball coach Hugan Coopsamy believes in the communicative power of sports.

"For us, this is a learning experience. It's the first time our team has played at this level. It's a platform to set a standard for us going forward. This is the level we'd like to compete at. I hope one day South Africa can also host the BRICs Games," he said.

BRICS has entered its second decade with over 10 years of cooperation in various fields behind it.

The 2017 BRICS Games came out of the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa, India, where the first BRICS multilateral sports and culture events were held.

"Sports are an essential component of people-to-people exchanges. Each BRICS country has its own sporting strengths and culture," said Song Luzeng, secretary general of the Chinese Olympic committee.

Outside competitive arena, BRICS sports cooperation has expanded.

Jose Vicente da Silva Lessa, the Brazilian consul-general in Guangzhou, is proud that Brazilian footballers are playing for Chinese clubs, like Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao and Shanghai SIPG.

"Evergrande has the World Cup winner coach Luiz Felipe Scolari who has done an excellent job in assuring Evergrande's position as one of China's best clubs," he said.

"Recently many Brazilian coaches have shown interest in coming to China. The consulate general of Brazil in Guangzhou had a very positive response from universities and football schools," he continued.

Guangdong Province has a history of active interaction with BRICS countries, having established friendly partnerships with Saint Petersburg in Russia, Gujarat in India and Sao Paulo in Brazil. Grassroots exchanges in sports, culture, arts, media, think tanks and youth have been highlighted in recent years.

"Brazil and China have developed a high degree of understanding, both bilaterally and among BRICS countries. Those contacts must, to my view, be reflected through people to people exchanges as well, generating more interaction on trade, sports, education and culture," the consul-general said.

Ivan Krasnobeav is a 20-year-old wushu athlete from Russia. He has been to China eight times for training. He hopes athletes from BRICS countries will some day come to Russia for games.

Gyandash Singh Mayanglambam, an Indian wushu athlete who claimed gold in the men's Tai Chi Quan and Tai Chi Sword is no stranger to China, and has been to many Chinese cities.

He has been practicing wushu for 15 years, all because he saw a documentary on the Shaolin Temple when he was a kid.

"A lot of people in India are curious about China and its culture. My friends want me to take more photos and share with them my experiences," he said.

In September, China will host the 9th BRICS Summit in the coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian Province.

"Athletes from BRICS gathered for friendly games, which not only demonstrates the charm of sports, but also the unity and amity among the five countries for a common better future," said Kong Bo, director of the sports foreign exchange center in Guangdong Province.

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