HARBIN, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Yan Shuo's shoulders dropped, but he still tried his best to keep the ball in his arms. Just a few steps later, his powerful opponents tackled him down to the ground. Yan's teammates lifted him up, getting ready for the next attack.
The World University Student American Football Championships kicked off in north China's Harbin last Thursday, and the Chinese team experienced this from time to time -- in face of stronger and more powerful opponents, they fell, climbed up, and encouraged each other again and again.
"American football is newly developing in China in recent years. We are not at the same level with our rivals, so learning is more important," said Zhang Jingkui, an American football team coach at Sichuan Tourism College.
255 athletes from five countries including China, the United States, Mexico, South Korea and Japan participated in the tournament. Faced with opponents with a deep history of American football, the progress of the Chinese team's ability to be more valuable than the end result of the games.
"It is so hard to score," said Yan, who had just managed to get the ball and run a few meters before being quickly tackled by his opponent. However, Yan and his teammates were still delighted with the learning experience.
"We should increase our strength and speed, as well as our pass-through," the Chinese players said during the break.
The Chinese team was formed temporarily of students from several universities and colleges, including Harbin University of Commerce and Shanghai Institute of Technology. Most students had no professional sports training background, but they were all rugby enthusiasts, a game which has some similarities with American football.
"The coaches took us to play the ball on weekends or in our spare time on weekdays. Without systematic training, they can only recover after injury by themselves," said coach Zhang.
"American football is full of passionate speed, and teammates' encouragement help people find a sense of belonging and accomplishment," Yan explained when asked the reason he fell in love with American football.
Everytime the team played, players shouted loudly, slapping and encouraging each other. The audience also responded with applause.
Xue Yanqing, executive chairman of the Games Organizing Committee, said that college sports events were a stage for fulfilling ideals and pursuing excellence.
After each game, the Chinese team would take photos with their opponents on the field. Footballers shared in the experience by smiling, hugging, and gestures, in lieu of speaking the same language.
Yan Yingyan, the coach from Shanghai Institute of Technology said, "These Chinese boys learned courage and teamwork...that has left a beautiful mark on their youth days."