The competition venue for The Second World Traditional Wushu Championships in Zhengzhou city
More and more people around the world are taking up wushu, an ancient Chinese martial art also known as kongfu in the West. The sport's growing international popularity was clear at The Second World Traditional Wushu Championships held last week in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan province and birthplace of Shaolin Wushu.
Around 2000 athletes from 66 countries and regions gathered to compete in a variety of events, including unarmed fights, armed fights, doubles and team fights. The top medals were awarded to competitors from 49 different countries.
The championships aim to promote exchanges between traditional wushu enthusiasts and enhance the sport's international profile.Activities like the Grand Welcoming Ceremony at the Shaolin Temple, wushu theory seminars and live performances of Shaolin & Zen were held to provide participants with martial arts feast.
Traditional wushu is one of the two main forms of Chinese martial arts that is practised today. It refers to all martial arts styles and schools apart from contemporary wushu, which is practiced like a demonstration sport. Like gymnasts, competitors in contemporary wushu events are judged and awarded points according to specific rules.
The Secretary General of the International Wushu Federation (IWF) Wang Xiaolin said this year's event was the most significant yet. More IWF members attended than ever before and the city hosted three important meetings over the course of the event. Young scholars also produced more academic papers on traditional wushu theory than ever before.
The hottest issue at the competition was whether wushu will be listed as an official competition sport for the 2008 Olympic Games. On Thursday, Wang Xiaolin confirmed that Wushu events will probably be staged as a series of "specially-set" matches, rather than contemporary wushu-style demonstrations, at the Games.
The two men who will probably decide the number of medals for the “special-set” wushu matches at the Olympic Games attended a special performance and the closing ceremony of the competition on Thursday. Hein Verbruggen, Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Beijing Olympics, and Gilbert Felli, Olympic Games Executive Director, are set to rule on how wushu events will be staged at the Games after they return from their trip. (Source: CRIENGLISH.com)