A group photo of Nankai High School basketball team taken after a title-winning campaign in 1920s. (Xinhua)
TIANJIN, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Si Yujia, a first-year finance student at Tianjin's Nankai University, has been a sports fan since her childhood. She has found her place at the hundred-year-old university, which is renowned for its academic reputation as well as its advocacy of physical exercise.
Nankai University equips a fitness center in every dormitory building. (Xinhua)
With all sorts of gyms on campus and a fitness center equipped in dormitories, students can have easy access to working out at anytime, anywhere, and sporting clubs often organize activities.
No matter how busy Si is with her studies, she always finds time to pursue her interests, like table tennis, swimming, badminton, and has even developed a new hobby: dragon boat racing.
The Nankai dragon boat team in competitions. (Xinhua)
"Nankai's dragon boat team is an honorable sports team featuring long history and with many national prizes. As a member of the team, not only do I get a glimpse of its history, but also to join in its fun," Si said.
Dragon boat racing is a team sport, requiring the whole crew to work as one toward the same goal.
Nankai University exhibit trophies won by its dragon boat team. (Xinhua)
Li Yufan, a postgraduate candidate and one of the senior crewmates of the dragon boat team, echoes Si in his love of traditional Chinese sports.
"Each move of the paddle matters in dragon boat racing. No matter how long or short the distance is, the race can only be won if every member rows as best they can," Li said.
Li was not a fan of sports at the very beginning. When he was fresh as an undergraduate student, Li was shocked to see students "goofing" around the campus with badminton rackets or basketballs, which he thought was a waste of time.
Is it really a waste of time? Si had different opinions. "There's always some leisure time for sports," she said, always trying to strike a balance in between sports and studying.
Nankai University has always strived to promote sports. Many regulations have been put forward to ensure students stay fit and healthy.
For example, it keeps the scores of physical tests in the students' record to keep track of the students' physical condition in every semester.
In addition, a health certificate containing the scores of physical tests, the evaluation of physical condition as well as sports skills, is issued to graduates by the president of the university together with diploma.
According to the regulations, only if undergraduates meet the basic requirements of physical test, can they apply for scholarships or honorary titles.
These regulations aim to lead students to enhance their physical condition. Nankai's students should graduate with high academic level and healthy lifestyle, according to Ji Naxin, the dean of the sports department in the university.
A women's volleyball team of Nankai University plays a game in 1930s. (Xinhua)
As a university with hundred-year history, Nankai University has sports in its genes since its founding.
Zhang Boling, the founder of Nankai University, always included physical education as a pillar in cultivating talent and put great emphasis on physical education in school.
For this reason, he included physical education in required courses and organized campus sports competitions.
The founder of Nankai University, Zhang Boling, kicks off a football match in 1920s. (Xinhua)
"Mr. Zhang emphasized the coordinated development of morality, intelligence and physique, and the idea that fostering sportsmanship is an integral part in shaping one's personality. This perfectly resonates with our current idea that the moral values of athletes matter more than winning or losing," said Yao Ming, chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association when he attended a sports-related forum held in Nankai University earlier this year.
According to historical documents of the university, as of 1935, 182 all sorts of sports clubs had been founded, including soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball, tennis and ice hockey.
A Nankai graduate shows her health certificate alongside with the diploma. (Xinhua)
Nankai's graduates are not satisfied with just their diploma; the health certificate is equally important.
Many students regard the certificate as an advantage over their peers in job-hunting.
Since 2017, a total of 4,036 students have gained the certificate when graduating, among which 229 are given a special designation as graduates with an excellent physique.
Li has already gotten his certificate with his Bachelor Degree, and Si is still working on it. "The certificate is not only a recognition of great physical condition but an incentive to motivate students to lead a healthy life," she said. ■