Daur seniors in NE China keep active for health in old age

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/5/18 10:13:56

Addicted to hockey at youth and ping pong in old age, Guo Shutao, an aged Daur sport enthusiast in Heihe in China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang, starts every day with a sports meeting of some kind.

Apart from Guo, many Daur seniors maintain a healthy lifestyle through sports.

The Daur people, one of Chinese minorities mainly living in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia, tend to be active, including singing, dancing, and sports in their daily routine. Guo, who embodies this active nature of the Daur people, is a 67-year-old farmer from Fularji Village, Heihe.

Guo told Xinhua his love for playing ball and dancing prevented him from taking to cigarettes or alcohol and helped him build up his body.

Having abandoned bad habits for years, Guo said "now that our living standards have risen, it's my time to play sports and enjoy life."

Field hockey is a traditional sport for the Daur people. At a square in Guo's community stands a sculpture of hockey players.

"I was a fanatic hockey fan in my teens," he recalled. "My friends and I joined two groups to play hockey. We took the game so seriously that the losers even promised a kowtow to the winners."

Later into middle age, Guo turned to playing ping pong, in particular after the village bought new ping pong tables with financial support from the town-level government three years ago.

"I often play ping pong with other villagers. That looks like exciting challenges among us," said Guo, who does well in both singles and doubles.

Guo's neighbor Han Weizhi proudly recalls that Kunhe villagers stood out in regional sports competitions in the 1980s. "The men's and women's basketball teams of Kunhe usually defeated their rivals from other villages."

These days, since the local farms have been completely mechanized, the Daur women have the chance to sing and dance at urban activity centers for fitness and entertainment rather than working on the farms for their livelihood.

Furthermore, as ethnic minority areas nationwide gain increasing policy support, sport facilities in many villages like Kunhe are being improved.

"Many courses are available here. That's enough for us sports fans," Han said.

The village also combines sports with the protection of its intangible ethnic cultural heritage by holding games for minorities every June, as well as an annual festival called "Kumul" (in the local language, literally referring to a herb) which contains various traditional sports events of the Daur people.

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