SHANGHAI, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- On the weekend preceding Monday's National Fitness Day, a variety of sporting events and fitness programs, including dragon boat racing, kayaking, skateboarding, roller skating, ice hockey, rugby and frisbee were organized by local Chinese authorities across the country.
The eastern metropolis of Shanghai launched a series of activities at the bank of Suzhou River, drawing active participation from sports enthusiasts.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event, Zhong Tianshi, China's first world champion in an individual cycling event, encouraged people to engage in physical exercise, pay attention to their health, and participate in outdoor sports and fitness activities.
"We will continue to use the waterfront for public sports and fitness and transform it into an urban sports center where people can enjoy recreational exercises," said Gu Weiling, director of the district sports bureau in Putuo, Shanghai.
In 2008, August 8 was designated National Fitness Day, and numerous task forces were established to help improve physical fitness and the overall health of people across the country.
From Aug. 6 to 14, Shanghai is hosting sports events in the spirit of fitness for all. During this period, nearly 400 public sports facilities such as stadiums, gymnasiums, swimming pools and physical fitness monitoring stations in the city will be open to the public free of charge.
Chinese lawmakers in June passed a revision to the country's sports law, in a bid to facilitate efforts to build the country into a sporting powerhouse.
The revised Law on Physical Culture and Sports will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The revision is the first comprehensive and systematic revision since the law's initial enforcement in 1995.
Chapters of "Social Sports" and "School Physical Education" were renamed "National Fitness" and "Youth and School Sports" respectively, to reflect China's primary concern of public and youth fitness strategy.
The act pointed out that local governments are responsible for providing sports facilities and organizing relevant activities, and public sports infrastructures are advocated to open to schools for holding mandatory annual sports events.
By the end of 2021, the number of people who regularly engage in physical exercise in China had exceeded 400 million, and the proportion of residents who meet or exceed the National Physical Fitness Evaluation Standards had reached over 90 percent.
There are 3.97 million sporting venues in China, with a total area of 3.41 billion square meters and a per-capita sports venue area of 2.41 square meters.
Guo Yulian, deputy dean of the Physical Education College of Jilin University, said the national fitness initiative transcends the simple notion of physical fitness, adding that sports culture is conducive to advocating a healthy and civilized lifestyle and social atmosphere. ■