Sports craze lingers on in China after Tokyo Olympics

There is only a short break between the postponed Olympics and the Chinese National Games.

It's not easy to understand that a doll can appeal to thousands of netizens. But actually it did.

After leaving her donkey doll behind after her National Games campaign in Xi'an, capital city of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, newly-crowned Olympic diving champion Quan Hongchan turned to Twitter-like platform Weibo for help.

"I unexpectedly forgot you in Xi'an," wrote the 14-year-old diver who won an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo with three perfect marks out of five dives before adding two National Games titles to her collection.

Quan's post received over 7,000 comments, with many offering both comfort and ideas. "Quan left her doll in Xi'an" even became a trending topic on social platforms.

Luckily, Quan got her doll back in just over two hours. The "lost and found" story of Quan's doll is a vivid example of Chinese people's lasting enthusiasm for sports after the Tokyo Olympics, insiders say.

There is only a short break between the postponed Olympics and the Chinese National Games, and as many prominent Olympians are also competing in Xi'an, many sports fans are closely following the National Games, commented the Zhejiang-based newspaper Qianjiang Evening News.

At the Tokyo Olympics, China bagged home 38 gold, 32 silver and 18 bronze medals, equalling its haul of golds at London 2012 for the best performance at an overseas Olympic Games.

While those exciting and glorious moments were widely celebrated by the public, the hard work, dedication and tenacity of athletes received even more appreciation.

The topic of "Olympic Games really changed my aesthetic standards" has been discussed nearly 600 million times on social platforms during Tokyo 2020, as many netizens voiced their deeper understanding toward sports.

"This physical beauty reflects the real Olympic spirit," one netizen commented.

Su Bingtian has been hailed as a hero by many sports fans for refreshing the men's 100m Asian record with 9.83 seconds.

The Chinese women's basketball team has offered people reasons to feel optimistic toward their prospects after finishing fifth at the Olympics.

Netizens have shown their appreciation toward athletes' muscular stature and natural skin color, which represents health in people's common sense.

The Chinese athletes maintained training sessions during their quarantine days back in China, and posted video clips of their training on line which were followed and imitated by millions of sports fans.

Star athletes such as Quan, Su, table tennis Grand Slam winner Ma Long and double Olympic shooting gold medalist Yang Qian returned to the limelight during the National Games, which officially opened on Wednesday, producing a string of trending topics on social platforms with their on-court performances, photos or even a doll.

These athletes have also become inspirations for ordinary people in their pursuit of a healthier life.

Under the theme of "Games for all, together in mind and action," the 14th National Games has set a stage not only for elite athletes to contend for glory, but also for ordinary people to showcase their athletic skills and enthusiasm. A total of 185 events across 19 sports are open to the mass at the ongoing Games.

Zhao Jixian, 78, is competing in table tennis in the mass program. A new age category of over 70 is added to the mass program of the 14th edition of the Games to cater to those senior table tennis fans.

Zhao had one win and one loss in his first day action. "The defeat doesn't matter. I am contented as I've been here to play. For us, playing table tennis is just out of love, and benefits our health. We do it for physical exercises and enjoying ourselves, is there anything better than this?"

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