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Australian Wushu Lovers Hail Chinese Farmers' Games

An Australian old couple came to watch the Wushu (Chinese martial arts) competition of the 6th Chinese National Farmers' Games on Monday and spoke highly of the Games which officially opened on Sunday night.

Gillian Lance told Xinhua at the Wushu gymnasium that she and her husband Geoffrey teach English in a Quanzhou middle school and that they are so interested in Wushu that they won't miss such a good chance.

"In Quanzhou, we have seen many people older than us playing Taiji (a special form of the Chinese martial arts). We also want to learn it," Gillian said.

"We got to know the mysterious Chinese Kung Fu from movies and Australian TV many years ago. In recent years, many Australian students chose the Chinese martial arts as their elective course. Since we came to China two years ago, we have been more and more interested in Wushu," she added.

Geoffrey said that Wushu gives people such an impression that it is a Chinese tradition. "I've seen many people still practicing Wushu. I think the Chinese people have done a good job in preserving the tradition."

While watching the competition, the couple even evaluated the performance of the athletes. Interestingly, the athletes praised by them all got good marks.

The couple said that it is great for China to hold such a sporting game for farmers. Although they did not go to the newly built stadium for the opening ceremony, they watched it on TV.

"Comparing to the world-class opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the ceremony of the Farmers' Games is the city-level best I've ever seen. It is more agriculture-oriented. The Games provides a good chance for the farmers from different parts of China to come together. We also come to cheer for them," Gillian said.

Zhou Ruofan, a student accompanying the Australian couple, told Xinhua that besides Wushu, the couple would also go to watch Chinese style wrestling and dragon dance.

"Unfortunately, the kite flying competition is over. Otherwise, we will also go to fly a kite!" Gillian said in smile.

As the only sporting gala for farmers in the world, the 6th edition of the Chinese National Games, running from October 26 to November 1, attracted about 3,500 athletes from all the provinces of China and became the largest one in the quadrennial Games' history. It was also the first multi-sport meeting in China after the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics.

(Xinhua News Agency October 29, 2008)

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