Students of Zambia Chinese Wushu Association perform Kongfu in Lusaka, Zambia, May 5, 2017. Zambia will host the first-ever Africa Cup of Chinese Wushu Tournament next year, the Zambia Chinese Wushu Association said on Friday. The tournament will gather kungfu lovers from about 20 countries. (Xinhua/Peng Lijun)
LUSAKA, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Zambia will next year host the first-ever Africa Cup of Chinese Wushu Tournament, the Zambia Chinese Wushu Association said on Friday.
The tournament, which will gather kung fu lovers from about 20 countries, has been tentatively set for June or August, said Cui Hengwu, the association's president.
Wushu, or Chinese martial arts, is quickly gaining popularity in African countries thanks to the introduction of many kung fu films and the promotion by local Wushu associations.
Speaking with Xinhua on the sidelines of the commissioning of the Zambia National Wushu Team Kung Fu Training Center in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, he said the hosting of the tournament was a milestone for Zambia in promoting kung fu, adding that preparations for the event have already started.
"As a host nation, we want Zambia to win this tournament so we have already started preparing the athletes. We have so many athletes currently being prepared and we will pick our final team after that," he said.
According to him, hosting the tournament signifies how far the sport has developed in Zambia and expressed gratitude over the enthusiasm being shown by local people to learn kung fu.
He said the training center was the outcome of joint efforts by the Chinese embassy and the Chinese business community in Zambia and that it has all the equipment required to properly train kung fu enthusiasts.
Formed in 2013, the association has trained about 500 local martial art enthusiasts in the capital and another 100 in the Copperbelt Province.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming commended the succession completion of the training center, saying it was a milestone in cementing cultural ties between the two countries.
He said the introduction of kung fu in Zambia was one way of strengthening cultural ties between the two countries and also commended the association over plans to host the tournament.
Lawrence Sichalwe, acting Youth and Sports Minister, said the construction of the training center was another milestone of sports infrastructure development in the country, adding that without appropriate infrastructure it was difficult to prepare athletes to participate in international competitions.
"With this beautiful infrastructure our Wushu or Kung Fu athletes will have conducive environment for training, physical fitness an interaction with experts in sports," he said.
The Zambian minister went on to commend China over its quest to promote social and cultural exchanges between the two countries, adding that the promotion of kung fu was another way of appreciating the cultural value.