ZHENGZHOU, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- There are perhaps no better qualified people to illustrate the harmony and culture inherent in China's ethnic sports than Dawaz high-wire walker Adili Hoshur, who has just competed at China's Ethnic Games for the tenth consecutive time, and spoke affectionately about his ethnic Han coach Liu Fusheng.
Aa an ethnic Uygur, 48-year-old Adili learned Dawaz from his late father Musa Hoshur, who participated in the inaugural ethnic games in 1953.
"I wanted to be in the same position as my father and bring Dawaz to a larger stage," said Adili, the sixth generation of Dawaz practitioners in his family.
Liu Fusheng was a key figure in helping his dream become reality, having once been a colleague of Adili's father Musa in an acrobatic troupe.
"After my father passed away, coach Liu became like a second father to me," Adili said.
But with limited training facilities and experience, Adili and Liu started their careers poorly.
"Coach Liu didn't understand how to stay balanced on the tightrope. But he always encouraged me to keep on practising when I slacked off," Adili said.
"We even practised barefoot in winter as there was not enough money to buy a pair of training shoes," Adili recalled. "When I had no feeling to touch the tightrope, coach Liu would use his hands or a hot towel to cover my feet, then the training went on."
Adili's hard work paid off. As an 11-year-old, he drew huge cheers when he brought Dawaz to China's 2nd Ethnic Games in 1982.
"When the spectators described Dawaz as the star turn of the sporting gala, it was one of the proudest moments of my life," Adili said.
However, Adili soon suffered a bitter blow, as Liu Fusheng passed away in 1993. "I had much deeper feelings for Liu that were never displaced by anything else."
That tragedy didn't stop him, but instead further fueled his intense determination to succeed.
Adili even broke a Guinness World Record in 1997 when he crossed the Yangtze River - China's longest - in 13 minutes 48 seconds, eclipsing the former record set by U.S.-based circus performer Jay Cochrane.
By the time of this year's 11th Ethnic Games in Zhengzhou, Adili has become the most recognizable figure practising Dawaz.
But despite his extraordinary curriculum vitae, the Uygur artist knows exactly what he really values.
"The Ethnic Games expresses harmony among China's 56 ethnic groups. Coach Liu and I proved that."