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Beijing Olympics to Showcase Wushu
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Wushu, the world famous Chinese martial arts, will be featured at the Beijing Olympic Games in an optimal way, a sports official said in Changchun, northeast China, Wednesday.


"Wushu will definitely be a special part of the 2008 Olympics," said Chen Guorong, deputy director of the martial arts administration center of China, at the conclusion of the 2007 National Women's Wushu Sanshou Championship.


Although Denis Oswald, a member of the IOC Executive Board, recently expressed his concern that Wushu is not internationally popular enough to become an Olympic program, Chen believes Wushu has become more and more influential around the world.


"Since the establishment of the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) in 1991 in Beijing, altogether 114 associations of martial arts from five continents have joined in. You can say that IWUF is qualified as a large-scale international sports organization," said Chen.


According to Chen, China began to promote Wushu in 1982, and successfully held the first International Wushu Invitation Tournament in 1985 in Xi'an. Since then Wushu competitions have sprouted in many countries and regions.


"Wushu has developed rapidly, especially in Asia," said Chen, "It was admitted as an official program by the Asian Games in 1990, and gradually earned its admission by the East Asian Games, the Southeast Asian Games and the South Asian Games. Meanwhile, Wushu championships have been held in Europe and pan-American countries, and Wushu is expected to enter the All-Africa Games soon."


As for the competitions, Chen said: "China used to be dominant in the field, but now things have changed greatly. Taolu, China's Hongkong, China's Macao, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, and Vietnam have become our rivals now; Sanshou, Russia, France, Italy, Iran and the Philippines have also become quite competitive. In certain heavy-weight categories, players from Europe even bear more potential for further development than we do."


For the next 10 years, the IWUF will help some other associations in contest organizing and marketing operation.


(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2007)

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