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Sports equipment firm lands 6 Olympic golds
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Bian Zhiliang is a man with ambition.

In just 30 years, the farmer-turned-entrepreneur from Shandong Province has developed his small family workshop into the largest sports equipment supplier to the Beijing Olympics.

"The Olympics has brought my company to a new height and we are trying to make Taishan a world well-known brand, like Nike and Adidas," the president of Shandong Taishan Sports Industry Group told China Daily on the sidelines of the first session of the 11th CPPCC last week.

As Asia's largest specialized sports equipment manufacturer, Taishan beat off challenges from several international competitors last year to win the supply contracts for six sports at the Beijing Games. It will provide about 200 types of equipment for gymnastics, athletics, taekwondo, judo, boxing and wrestling.

"Since I started working in the sports industry, I have dreamed of seeing my sports equipment at the Olympics," the newly elected CPPCC member said.

"Our major marketing strategy is Olympic-oriented and we will continue to provide equipment to the 2012 London Games and beyond."

Bian was born into a farmer's family in the small city of Leling, Shandong province. Before starting his own business, he did various jobs including tilling fields, repairing roads and selling sailcloth.

But in 1983, he chanced on a piece of information that would change his life: A local police school was in need of training sacks and mats.

"It sounded like a much more profitable business than selling sailcloth, and I thought I could make those things by myself," he said.

Bian managed to persuade the school to award him the contract after showing them a sample of a gymnastics mat he had made by hand, sitting on his bed at home.

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