SHANGHAI, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The 2019 Shanghai Amateur Games Taekwondo League Finals concluded at the Jing'an Sports Center in Shanghai last weekend, attracting participants of all ages who are enthusiastic about this Olympic sport.
The competition also attracted the attention from the birth place of Taekwondo. Professionals from the Busan Sports Association of South Korea reached Shanghai a week before the finals to survey the development of Taekwondo among amateurs in the Chinese city.
"In recent years, South Korea has encountered a dilemma of developing Taekwondo at the grassroots level. Although their professional athletes still stand out in international games, Taekwondo has witnessed a downward trend among amateurs. Therefore, they showed great interest in our experience," said Zhang Yu, a former athlete-turned-chairman of a Taekwondo sports brokers company after retirement.
"The Chinese team performs well in Taekwondo and has cultivated Olympic champions including Chen Zhong, Wu Jingyu and Zhao Shuai. Many parents now take Taekwondo as a way to improve children's fitness. But without innovation, Taekwondo will be very hard to promote," Zhang added.
Zhang and his team have successfully organized amateur Taekwondo games for three consecutive years, attracting 18,051 competitors in 2019.
"We divide the games into the community, district and municipal level, making all Taekwondo lovers feel fulfilled and in the spotlight," said Zhang, adding that "among all the participants, teenagers should be the focus of our work."
"Through competition, I have made more friends of the same hobby and improved my skills," said Li Ziyan, a student from Aurora College who won a 58-kilogram Taekwondo championship title for college students this year.
Zhang told to Xinhua a moving story from the finals. A seven-year-old girl missed the award ceremony due to being busy celebrating her win with her family. After being informed, Zhang immediately contacted the referee and photographer and told them to hold an individual ceremony for the little girl, who broke into tears.
"Because of the respect and honor she got, this little girl will be keen on Taekwondo. So will her family," Zhang said.