YINCHUAN, April 15 (Xinhua) -- With several pairs of orange basketball stands and posters featuring basketball stars, a young man called Gu Rui decorates a 1,500-square-meter plant building into a basketball park, which always attracts basketball lovers, even on weekdays.
"I hope more people in my hometown can learn to love and play basketball, and enjoy good health through sports," said Gu, adding that in addition to regular lessons for teenagers, more candidates for college exams have begun to take professional training here since February.
Gu Rui lives in Wuzhong, a city with a small population of no more than one million in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. In 2002, he was enrolled in Beijing Sport University through the national college exam. As a way to realize his basketball dream and cover living expenses, he started a basketball club in his spare time.
"Beijing boasts a good market for sports, and since my class gained recognition, over 70 students come to me for training," Gu said.
After graduation, Gu could have stayed in Beijing to manage the club, but his family changed his mind. In early 2017, he gave a demonstration basketball lesson in Wuzhong gymnasium and gained unexpected popularity, especially from young players.
"At the moment, I know even in such a small city, I can find a good market for youth basketball training," Gu said.
However, because the place rented as "classroom" from the city gymnasium was always occupied by different activities, Gu had to give lessons in a park equipped with basketball stands. Last year, the increasing number of students encouraged him to sell his wedding house and rent the current building.
"It's a good thing that my students can have a fixed training place and basketball lovers also have a playing court. It's far from the city center, but always full of people on the weekends," Gu said, adding that sometimes over one hundred people will come to play.
In order to better promote a local atmosphere for basketball, Gu registered his company and has already held several basketball matches.
"Unlike Beijing, the industry here may grow at a slower pace, but at least I see changes," Gu said, adding that many parents used to think of basketball and other sports a waste of time, but have since began to cultivate sports with children intentionally.
As of now, there are more than 200 students in Gu's training club, and he will soon have another one open in a neighboring city, and the renovations there are coming to an end.
"Starting a business is never easy, but the start-up loans and other policy support from the local government have encouraged me a lot. I'm quite confident about this industry now," Gu said.