(Photograph by Reporter Xiao Mingliang/Text by Reporter Huang Jingjing) In May 2019, "swordsmen" from all over the world gathered in Jing'an, Shanghai. After three days of fierce competition, the winner of the 2019 FIE Fencing Grand Prix Shanghai stood out the other day in the courtyard of Meilong Town Plaza. Gao Zhidan, Deputy Director of the General Administration of Sport of China, Wang Haibin, President of the Chinese Fencing Association, Xu Bin, Secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and Director of Shanghai Administration of Sports, Luo Wenhua, Deputy Director of Shanghai Administration of Sports, Maria Leono, Technical Member of the FIE Fencing Grand Prix, as well as district leaders Yu Yong, Jiang Ming, Wu Liping, Bao Yingjing and Ye Qiang attended the opening ceremony.
Fencing is an elegant sport consistent with Jing'an, enjoying a unique development environment in Jing'an. Over the past 16 years, through the continuous cultivation of this "One Performance for One District" brand event, more and more fencing enthusiasts in Jing'an have promoted the vigorous development of fencing in Jing'an, while the fencing culture has also radiated to the whole city.
Let Citizens Enjoy Fencing
This year, as a category A event in the international competition classification of the General Administration of Sport of China, this event is also the points competition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The number of entries reached a record high, attracting 387 athletes from 46 countries and regions, including some of the world's top players from Italy, the United States and Russia. The Chinese men's and women's foil teams dispatched a total of 40 athletes (20 men and 20 women each) for this competition. Fu Yiting, who currently ranked the highest in the individual points of women's foil in the FIE in China, also participated.
In the eyes of many people, fencing is a "high-level" sport. Sixteen years ago, it was a great innovation to place a high-standard international competition in a shopping mall. "Holding an international competition in a large shopping mall can expand the publicity effect of this sport, and at the same time improve the culture and grade of the shopping mall." The relevant person in charge of Jing'an District Sports Bureau said. Even world-class athletes felt fresh about it. Italian fencers even hoped that their own fencing competitions can follow Jing'an and hold fencing competitions in shopping malls to let more people know about fencing.
This year, in order to further make this small-scale gentle sport swallow its pride and move towards the public, Jing'an District Sports Bureau has even placed the "kendo" at the gate of Jing'an Park -- Under the guidance and explanation of professional coaches, citizens can change into fencing uniforms and experience the charm and culture of fencing at "zero distance".
White-collar Workers Form Their "Fencing Circle of Friends"
Jing'an is lined with high-rise buildings, bringing together more than 200,000 white-collar workers. Many of them have become amateur "swordsmen" with the continuous popularization of fencing. "The competition cannot be just a competition. We must enhance the radiation effect of the competition." "We have taken the initiative to build a platform for fencing enthusiasts, enabling them to contact with and learn about the sport, and making them sincerely like it," said a relevant official of Jing'an District Sports Bureau.
"Jing'an Sword Contest" Shanghai Fencing Challenge is such a platform. Through preliminary competition, more than 50 winners also entered the courtyard of Meilong Town Plaza to compete in the finals, sharing the atmosphere of a top international competition. This year, the "Jing'an Sword Contest" Shanghai Fencing Challenge expanded the scope of participants to the Yangtze River Delta region, attracting more than 500 athletes from 35 clubs in various regions of the Yangtze River Delta.
Wu Chen, who has won the championship in the men's group of the "Jing'an Sword Contest" Shanghai Fencing Challenge for many times, is the chief representative of the Shanghai Representative Office of the China-Britain Business Council. Having lived in the UK for many years, he now lives and works in Jing'an. Wu Chen spends almost one or two whole nights in Wanglei International Fencing Club every week. He thinks Jing'an's fencing atmosphere is the first-class in the country. "I have been to many places all over the country. Only in Shanghai Jing'an can I see so many white-collar workers taking off their professional uniforms and changing into fencing uniforms after work." Wu Chen said that nearly 10 of his close friends and colleagues took part in fencing, "It's a high percentage even in the UK."
Jin Kai, head of Wanglei International Fencing Club, said that most of the members of the club are white-collar and gold-collar workers in Jing'an. Apart from hobbies and physical exercises, many people regard fencing as a fashion pursuit and form their own "sports circle of friends".
Form a "One-stop" Training and Supplying Mode
"Only when the center of gravity is stable will the shooting be accurate." "Only when you keep up with your steps can you make a beautiful counterattack." "During training, you must improve your concentration so that you won't be disturbed by the outside world during the competition"... On May 16, the excellent athletes of Chinese National Fencing Team entered Shanghai Zhabei No. 8 Middle School, and personally guided the junior fencers in their amateur training.
In recent years, in order to promote the popularization and development of fencing and highlight the training and selection of youth sports reserve talents on the basis of popularizing sports to students, Jing'an District has given priority to organizing regional fencing exchanges and competitions in the form of sports leagues. Shanghai Zhabei No. 8 Middle School is not only a traditional fencing school at the municipal level, but also the leading school of Jing'an District Fencing League, which has hosted fencing competitions in the region for many times.
The entry of outstanding Chinese and foreign athletes into schools has always been a "reserved program" promoted by Jing'an to popularize fencing. Since 2012, outstanding athletes from teams such as the Chinese Foil Team, the Russian Foil Team, the Italian Foil Team and the American Foil Team have come to Jing'an District to have "zero distance" contact with students in many primary and secondary schools.
According to the introduction, as a key development project of Jing'an District Sports Bureau, there are currently 7 fencing coaches and 248 registered fencers in the area. In recent years, Jing'an District Sports Bureau and Jing'an District Education Bureau have been actively exploring a new mode to combine sports and education for young people, and have organized and carried out special physical education curriculum distribution services in the region. At present, a number of primary and secondary schools, including Yucai Middle School, Zhabei No. 1 Central Primary School and Jing'an Foreign Language Primary School of Shanghai International Studies University, have launched special fencing courses, carrying out courses for nearly 200 hours each year, and benefiting more than 400 students.
Centering on the training of young fencing reserve talents, Jing'an District Sports Bureau has also gradually formed a "one-stop" training and supplying mode of primary school, junior high school and senior high school, in which Zhabei Experimental Primary School, Zhabei No. 8 Middle School, Jing'an District No. 2 Junior Sports School, Shanghai No. 1 and No. 2 sports teams, as well as colleges and universities jointly select and train young fencing reserve talents with multi-point layout, multi-input and overall management.