The Beijing 2008 Wushu Tournament will be held from Aug. 21 to 24 during the Olympic Games, a Wushu official announced Tuesday afternoon.
Wang Xiaolin, Secretary General of International Wushu Federation (IWUF) and President of Chinese Wushu Association, said at a press conference at the Olympic main press center that 128 athletes from 43 countries and regions will attend the tournament.
He elaborated that 28 athletes are from Europe, 14 from America, seven from Africa, two from Oceania and 77 from Asia.
Fifteen gold medals are at stake in taolu and sanshou. According to the tournament's regulation, every delegation is entitled to dispatch athletes to attend at most eight of 15 competition events.
Wang said the Chinese delegation will have eight athletes to compete in eight events.
The tournament is hosted by the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 29th Olympic Games (BOCOG), IWUF and Chinese Wushu Association.
The IOC usually rules that no competitions for non-Olympic sports should be held in the Olympics-hosting cities during the Olympics Games, but obviously it has opened a special door to the traditional Chinese sports event.
Wushu, or martial arts, is neither an official event nor an exhibition event of the Olympic Games, although the IWUF has tried hard in the past decade to put it on the Olympic program.
"Wushu has thousands year-long history in China and its core essence is harmony. Except the Wushu tournament during the Beijing Olympic Games, some Chinese Wushu athletes will give performance in the Olympic Village for athletes from all over the world, so as to deepen people's understanding on the traditional Chinese sports event," said Wang.
In responding to the question on when Wushu can be accepted as a medal event in the Olympic Games, Wang said "we appreciated the International Olympic Committee that they have given us very positive assessment. But there is still a long way to go, as IOC is trying to trim down the scale of the Games."
(Xinhua News Agency August 6, 2008)