Stars shine, new talents emerge as new methods introduced to National Games

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-08 18:05:07|Editor: Yamei
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Lin Dan of Beijing attends the awarding ceremony after winning the men's singles badminton final at the 13th Chinese National Games in north China's Tianjin Municipality, Sept. 8, 2017. Lin Dan claimed the title by 2-0. (Xinhua/Xu Chang)

TIANJIN, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Twelve competitions days, 417 gold medals, and more than 12,000 athletes having participated. The 13th National Games, dubbed China's mini-Olympics, concluded here on Friday.

During the quadrennial sports gala, four world records, three Asian marks as well as 11 national and three national junior ones have been shattered in shooting, weightlifting, cycling, athletics and swimming.

Sun Yang led the gold digging stars pack, as the 25-year-old Olympic and world champion pocketed six titles and one silver after competing in all eight days of swimming competition, bidding in eight finals of freestyle and relays.

Multiple records have been surpassed in the shooting tournament, including that of the men's 10m air pistol, having been improved by five-time Olympian Tan Zongliang by 0.7 points.

Star shuttler Lin Dan, 33, built on his legend by claiming a fourth consecutive crown at the Games, few days after the two-time Olympic and five-time world champion reached the World Championships final in Glasgow.

Table tennis court also saw big names live up to their reputations, as reigning Olympic and world title holders Ma Long and Ding Ning lifted their respective trophies at the men's and women's singles.

Apart from the established figures, much more talented youngsters emerged at the Games, which also serve as the show stage nurturing future stars besides a battlefield for the country's Olympic heroes.

In the pool, Li Bingjie, 15 years old, tied with world champion Xu Jiayu and butterfly expert Li Zhuhao for the second place of multi-medal winners with four golds each.

The teenage sensation set the new Asian records of women's 400m in 4:01.75 and 1,500m freestyle in 15:52.87, alongside with a 800m win and a relay victory.

Zhang Jiaqi, who beat Olympic gold medalist Ren Qian to triumph in the women's 10m platform after taking the 10m synchronized title, is just 13 years, and swimming's junior champion of four events Wang Yichun is even one year younger.

Besides the elite professional athletes featuring in 417 events across 33 sports, 7,620 amateurs have participated in 126 events of 19 mass programs at the Games bearing the theme "National Games for a Healthy China".

To keep in line with the Tokyo 2020 programs, the National Games, inaugurated in 1959, served well in testing mettle for upcoming Olympics as 21 events, like the men's 800m freestyle swimming and mixed team archery, were introduced.

Combinations of different delegation were also encouraged in these Games and 37 out of the 279 combinations involving 870 athletes claimed golds in diving, track and field, track cycling, sailing, swimming, rowing and etc..

In another unprecedented move, nine professional and 22 amateur overseas Chinese were given the permission to enter finals in the Games, with equestrian rider Zhu Meimei taking a bronze.

As the biggest-ever edition, the Games have 130 finals in 12 Olympic sports including marathon, synchronized swimming and tennis, as well as in 17 out of 19 popular programs, such as taichi, chess and rock climbing, being completed ahead of the official kick-off on Aug. 27.

The next National Games will be held in northwestern Shaanxi province four years later.