It was a memorable day for Umer Seemab, a young Pakistani student, who brought true his childhood dream of visiting China by learning the Chinese language.
The 10th "Chinese Bridge" competition, a Chinese language proficiency contest, is held in Pakistani capital Islamabad on April 10, 2011.
Seemab, 24, became eligible to visit China after winning the 10th "Chinese Bridge" competition, a Chinese language proficiency contest held in Pakistani capital Islamabad on Tuesday.
The top winner, named himself as Huang Wei in Chinese, studied Chinese language for three years and it was the third time in a row he took part in the contest.
The objective of the competition, sponsored by the Chinese Embassy to Pakistan, National University of Modern Languages (NUML) and the Islamabad Confucius Institute, was to tap the zest and talent of Pakistani college students in Chinese language and culture.
Seemab was very excited as he will represent Pakistan in the final competition of Chinese language among non-native Chinese speakers in China this July. He also wished to utilize his skills in Chinese language to promote the Pakistan-China friendship.
"I am really happy and excited as I have won the first prize of Pakistan sector, this is not less than a dream fulfillment," Seemab told Xinhua after the contest.
Seemab also shared his story on how he started Chinese classes and got a decent job with Chinese media after learning Chinese.
The jam-packed Salam Hall at the NUML appreciated and encouraged the eight final contestants who were performing impressively in three fields of competition, Chinese culture performance, ancient poetry reading and answering questions about China's culture, history and geography.
All the participants got warm applauses from audience and judges during their performance of singing, dancing, Chinese calligraphy and tongue twisting.
NUML Rector Dr. Aziz Ahmad Khan said it might be very hard job for judges to select the winner as all the participants were performing perfectly.
Aziz, recognizing the fruitful and benefiting efforts by the Confucius Institute, read out some pieces from Urdu poetry written in the praise of long lasting Pakistan-China friendship.
The Islamabad Confucius Institute was co-founded by Beijing Language and Culture University, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), and the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad in April 2005, for the promotion of Chinese culture through Chinese language.
It is the first Confucius Institute based on the all-weather strategic partnership between China and Pakistan, and also it is the first Confucius Institute in Islamic world.
The "Chinese Bridge" competition, a Chinese language competition for non-native Chinese speaking college students has been running since 2002 in many countries.
Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Liu Jian delivered a speech on the occasion and gave away prizes among participants.
Emphasizing the people-to-people interaction between the two countries, Liu told audience that the Chinese government will invite 100 Pakistani students for summer camp and will give scholarships to 500 Pakistani students during three years.
According to institutes that offer Chinese language courses, hundreds of students and businessmen are coming for admissions, only some have to wait due to lack of vacancies.
Taimoor Khan, a police officer who traveled 300 kilometers to witness the contest, said that he came here just to experience Chinese language as many of his colleagues and family members want to learn.
Imran Niaz, another participant who stood runner-up, was happy over performing in front of hundreds of people and high dignitaries. Niaz, who wanted to be a teacher or interpreter in Chinese language, decided to learn Chinese after he got to know the importance of the relations between the two countries.
Seemab said his family and friends were not supportive enough when he first started to learn the language but now his three family members and two friends have also started to learn Chinese.