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China"s world champion athletes and coaches have found increased motivation in the country"s achievements, and say they want to help it realize its aspiration of being a world-class sporting power.
From the exquisite torch used at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics to the fancy cycling helmets painted with Peking opera masks worn by Chinese track cyclists at the 2016 Rio Olympics, items on display at an exhibition in Beijing on Monday triggered oohs and ahhs from visitors flocking to the show to review China"s social and economic achievements over the past five years.
Some high-profile athletes attended the show at the Beijing Exhibition Hall, recalling their own highlight moments while learning about the progress their country achieved in other fields.
"I feel really thrilled to learn how much our country has developed in so many areas, not only in sports, with such a concrete presentation of items, illustrations and models," said Dong Dong, China"s Olympic and world champion trampoline athlete. "The sense of national pride just encourages you to work harder in whatever you do individually."
Dong was among a whopping 1,000 members of a sports delegation who visited the exhibition, Five Years of Sheer Endeavor, on Monday. It opened on Sept 25.
The country"s State-run sports system deserves credit for the momentum of scientific innovation that has brought a technology-centered approach to sports development at both the elite and grassroots levels, Dong said.
"The progress in our talent-development system, which now combines all relevant sciences, is really remarkable," the 28-year-old veteran said.
World champion table tennis star Fan Zhendong said the inspiration he felt at the exhibit was a morale boost that will help him win more titles and actively promote sports off the stage.
"Since the top leadership in our country attaches so much importance to sports development, we as front-runners in the business need to shoulder more responsibility for spreading the positive energy of sports participation to the public," said Fan, who won his first world title when he was 17 years old in May 2014. He was one of China"s youngest athletes to do so.
Among the sports delegates was the new coach of the Chinese women"s national handball team, Jesper Holmris of Denmark, who was enthusiastic about many of the exhibits. "It"s interesting to be here to see how fast the development has been going on in China, which is amazing," said Holmris, who last visited China 20 years ago.
"This is like a team-building experience for us, coming from Scandinavian culture to learn about what"s going on in general in China. It will help us better understand the culture and do our job in sports," he said.