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International students warm to winter sports fun

China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-14 09:43
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YINCHUAN-For Richard Djurist, China is not only a good destination for his medical studies, but also a great place to discover the joy of ice and snow sports.

Last month, the 30-year-old Tanzanian experienced skiing for the first time in his life, at a resort in Yinchuan, the capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

"I had never tried skiing before," said Djurist. "In my country we don't have winter, so I never got in touch with winter sports before, but I love to try something new."

Richard came to China eight years ago and is now studying for his post-graduate degree at Ningxia Medical University. With Beijing 2022 just around the corner, the university organized a winter sports meet to give international students the chance to enjoy fun ice and snow activities such as cycling on ice and ice-sled racing.

According to Ma Xin, deputy director of the international education school of the university, Richard is among 27 international students from seven countries such as Tanzania, Fiji, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh who took part in the event.

Tanzania is a country in eastern Africa, located south of the equator, with a warm climate all year round. Richard loves sports but had never tried any of the winter variety.

"I can't wait to try skiing and see if I can manage my speed," he said.

Although he was rather clumsy on the ice and almost lost control, Richard and his team still managed to win the sled race.

"By organizing this fun winter sports meet, we want students to exercise more, pay attention to their physical health, and also enhance their group cohesion," said Ma.

"We hope they can learn more about winter sports, China and Chinese culture."

After two rounds of sliding on a snow tube, 23-year-old Chand Anandhika from Fiji couldn't have been more excited. It was also her first time to experience ice and snow sports during her five years of studying in China.

"I had never experienced the four seasons until I came to China. Before I saw snow in real life, I always thought it was blue!" she joked.

"That's why I think of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as pure white and clear blue, and I really wish I could have the chance to be there when it starts."

Davis Munashe, Chand's teammate from Zimbabwe, had a different color in mind to associate with the Games.

"I would use red. For me, red signifies prosperity, success and general happiness, and looking at the people within China, even internationals in China, we are all happy," said Davis.

Davis has tried many winter sports, especially skating and skiing. "They are not as easy as I thought, but all the same, very exciting and very interesting," he said.

After learning that Beijing 2022 will start right after the Chinese Spring Festival, on Feb 4, Davis said:"I think this will be a good time for them to host the Olympics. Because in China, the Spring Festival represents togetherness, friendship, happiness and allows people to be together as one. I believe hosting the Olympics will fit the occasion."

Richard believes China's growing passion for winter sports benefits the whole of society. "Exercise helps us maintain physical health, and winter sports help us challenge the cold and also ourselves," he said. "Just like the Olympic slogan, 'Together for a shared future', I wish all the athletes a good performance at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games."


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