Chinese sports authorities recruit Shaolin monks, teach them snow and ice disciplines to boost Beijing Winter Olympics squads

With four years still to go for the 2022 Beijing Olympics, China is desperately looking to boost their ranks, enlisting talented martial artists from monasteries and teaching them snow and ice sports.

Agence France-Presse July 31, 2018 18:55:20 IST
Chinese sports authorities recruit Shaolin monks, teach them snow and ice disciplines to boost Beijing Winter Olympics squads

Shanghai: A Chinese kung-fu monk rockets down the halfpipe, his robe fluttering behind him, bald head glistening in the sun, to claim snowboard Olympic gold.

Chinese sports authorities recruit Shaolin monks teach them snow and ice disciplines to boost Beijing Winter Olympics squads

Representational image. Reuters

It may sound like a sequel to hit comedy film "Cool Runnings", but for Beijing 2022 hosts China this is no joke. China is so worried about its lack of winter Olympians and losing face on home soil that it is plundering the martial arts schools of Buddhist monasteries in the search for a star.

Frantic sports chiefs have plucked 125 teenage students from the renowned Songshan Shaolin Temple in the central province of Henan in the hope their martial arts prowess can translate into medal-winning performances on the snow.

The latest batch of 23 students left for Beijing on Monday for initial training in freestyle skiing and other Olympic disciplines, the Henan Daily newspaper said. The best among them will then venture to New Zealand to hone their skills.

Medal-hungry China is turning to martial arts training schools as part of what it is calling "cross-discipline candidate selection" for Beijing 2022. More than 600 prospective Olympians — boys and girls — have been hand-picked so far in Henan alone, the Xinhua news agency said.

China's General Administration of Sport, the government's top sports body, said the nationwide search was designed to "enrich the talent pool for ice and snow disciplines". Officials are also considering asking talented skateboarders, acrobats and trampolinists to switch disciplines as part of the ramped-up recruitment drive.

It is easy to see why they came up with the idea, seeing as at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, China won just nine medals, only one of them gold.

Updated Date:

also read

Taiwan condemns 'evil neighbour next door' after China encircles the island with series of military drills
World

Taiwan condemns 'evil neighbour next door' after China encircles the island with series of military drills

Beijing has insisted its war games are a 'necessary' response to a visit to the self-ruled, democratic island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but Washington countered that China's leaders had 'chosen to overreact'

As Beijing rages over Taiwan, mood on China's streets muted
World

As Beijing rages over Taiwan, mood on China's streets muted

China's tight grip over the internet, with a massive system of censorship that scrubs posts casting the Communist Party's policies in a negative light, has limited public debate over just how far Beijing should go in its showdown over Taiwan

Visit honours US commitment to supporting Taiwan democracy, tweets Nancy Pelosi; extremely dangerous, says China
World

Visit honours US commitment to supporting Taiwan democracy, tweets Nancy Pelosi; extremely dangerous, says China

Nancy Pelosi, second in line to the presidency, is the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. Beijing has made clear that it regards her presence as a major provocation, setting the region on edge