Widening the net in China's talent trawl

Updated 2018-02-09 10:45:07 China Daily

China's National Youth Basketball Open (NYBO) is widening its reach as the country bids to unearth the next Zhou Qi.

The brainchild of Chinese sports company Starz Sports, the NYBO hopes that its expanded schedule for 2018 will encourage more kids to pick up basketballs.

Last year's inaugural edition featured over 800 games in ten cities across China, attracting over 3,000 young players aged between 4 and 14 years old.

This year the tournament aims to stage about 3,000 games involving more than 10,000 kids.

"Our vision is to stage games every weekend in every single district and county for basketball-loving children," said Starz Sports chairman Lu Hao at a media conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

"When I was a little boy, there were no such basketball tournaments for children. I remember how desperately that I wanted to have a platform to display my skill."

While finding players to follow in the footsteps of Houston Rockets rookie Zhou would be a bonus, Lu stressed the tournament wants to avoid putting too much pressure on youngsters.

"Our purpose is to increase the basketball population in China," Lu said. "If we push children of that age too hard and force them to win every game, basketball will be a nightmare instead of a lifestyle that they can enjoy for their whole life.

"Making the game enjoyable and letting children have fun is the top priority."

Beginning in September and ending in August, the NYBO is comprised of fall and spring seasons and national finals.

The tournament welcomes teams of all kinds, including from schools, communities and basketball training organizations, with age brackets divided into Under-6s, U8s, U10s U12s and U14s.

Any outstanding talent discovered during the course of the tournament will perhaps have a chance to eventually graduate to a CBA franchise.

The NYBO is also supported by the General Administration of Sport of China, the CBA and China School Sports Federation.

"Youth development is one of the CBA's top priorities," said Bai Xilin, CBA secretary-general. "Through the NYBO, we plan to start a new chapter in Chinese basketball's talent development."

The CBA also stressed the importance of increasing participation numbers.

"Through tournaments like the NYBO, talent-training bases and schools, we will focus on increasing the youth basketball population in China," said Xue Yunfei, the CBA's deputy secretary-general.

"We will help more children fall in love with basketball and keep improving the quality of youth games."

The birth of the NYBO is part of a bigger picture. CBA president Yao Ming has placed reforming the domestic game at the top of his agenda, with cultivating youth talent an integral part of his strategy.

"Basketball faces stiff competition from sectors such as electronics sports in attracting the young generation," Yao said in January.

"That's why we will encourage Chinese basketball to continue its cooperation with the education and entertainment sectors to create a platform where children can enjoy learning different things simultaneously."

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58September 21 2018 13:36:01

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16September 21 2018 13:36:01

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18September 21 2018 13:36:01

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords