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Fin swimming faces crisis in China

05-24-2010 09:10 BJT

HEFEI, Anhui Province, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Fin swimmer Zhu Baozhen holds four world records, but her name is rarely known among even the most enthusiastic Chinese sports fans. It's the real embarrassment the sport is facing in China.

Fin swimming is the progression of a swimmer using monofins or normal swimfins either on the water surface or underwater.

China has a glorious history in fin swimming, having participated in world championships a dozen times and won some one hundred gold medals.

Even now China is still one of the leading countries in the sport, with six world record holders competing in the on-going 4th All-China Games, a multi-sport gala for all the non-Olimpic sports in China.

However, Chinese fin swimming has suffered from a talent drought and failed to attract enough public attention in recent years.

"My fellow fin swimmers from the national team have gradually left the sport in recent years, and few young talent has joined in," said Zhu Baozhen, who represents Guangdong province to compete in the Games held in Anhui.

"I think the lack of public attention is one of the reasons causing the talent crisis," Zhu added.

As a non-Olympic sport, fin swimming was ousted from the Chinese National Games in 1994, which resulted in a huge drop in support and fund from the government.

Because of the immense attention paid to Olympic sports in China, few parents would send their children to fin swimming. And even if they want to, it would be very hard to find a proper fin swimming school or club, as the number of professional local fin swimming teams has decreased from 18 to four in the past two decades.

According to Su Ke, the official in charge of fin swimming in the General Administration of Sports of China, there are only 300 fin swimmers in China, including the amateurs.

Su believes that fin swimming has its own charm. And promoting the sport among young people while raising its influence now tops Su's agenda. However, China still has a long way to go to restore the glory of fin swimming.

Editor:Zhang Ning |Source: Xinhua

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