Friday, 24 October 2008

The Sports Meeting

This week at the university, the focus is on sport. The Friday and Saturday are the two sports meeting days (and we have no classes on the Friday if it is not raining). I have attended two of the events prior to the sports meeting, but part of it. The Aerobics Competition. One night there were large groups of students - mostly female performing quite an array of actions to music. The girls were all in costume with makeup, and it was a spectacular thing to watch. It was held in the sports stadium with no seating - though many students were standing on plastic chairs. Made it difficult for the shorties to see and I only caught glympses of the performance. On the second night the crowd was even larger - perhaps because the dancing was more exotic! There was much cheering and excitement and I would have liked to see more, but once again only glympses.

But today (Friday) was the big opening ceremony. Just like the Olympics. But it was at 7.30 am and I managed to get up and onto the sports ground in time for the start. I'm so glad I did.

There were officials on the dais, and much shouting in Chinese - officials giving their thoughts and encouragement to the students I'd guess and then the parade started.

Groups of students - some in sports uniform, teachers in their uniform (I have one, but have not worn it yet!), students in dance costume. There were around 100 students carrying pigeons that were let fly during the ceremony. There were girls carrying balloons, and others carrying flowers. It was quite a parade - even with a strange looking Mickey Minny Mouse, followed up at the end by a dragon. Hundreds of students cheered them all on.

The group of students carrying the Chinese flag goosestepped across in front of the dais, and later as the flag was hoisted on the large flag pole the National Anthem of China was played. Hardly Olympc Games standard, but all impressive just the same. The balloons (filled with helium) too were all released en masse during the ceremony.

And the winners of the Aerobics Competition of the nights before also performed. And then the action began.

Students were high jumping, doing the hop step and jump, sprints, long distance running, javelin and more.

Quite impressive really, and my students were thrilled to see me there.

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