SHANGHAI, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Skating through the half-pipe, Cao Yihuan, a 10-year-old girl, knelt to the ground and smiled under the sun. This is a regular trick she practiced every afternoon before winning the crown for the U11 group at the 17th Shanghai Sports Meeting.
The extreme park at the waterfront of Huangpu River where Cao enjoyed herself was opened in October 2021. With a total usable area of nearly 10,000 square meters, the central area of the park is an international standard professional skateboarding venue covering more than 3,000 square meters.
Cao, nicknamed Cai Cai, is a student from Shanghai Xuhui Jianxiang Primary School. As a student with sports expertise, Cao is able to get the permission of the school for a half-day leave every day to prepare for her upcoming games.
Cao got interested in skateboarding when she was two and a half years old. "I played scooter first. Then I saw some teenagers play skateboards on the streets, which is quite appealing to me," said Cao.
Although Cao is a skillful player now, she suffered a painful process while learning skateboarding. "It is quite tough for me at the beginning, because I always made mistakes. For skateboarders, self protection is very important before falling down. Gradually I knew how to use my knees properly," she said.
In Cao's view, skateboarding is of great fun but challenging. "I am keen on making an attempt on difficult tricks. I have been devoting to a trick called 5050 since 2018 but I still can not complete it perfectly," she noted.
Cao found nowadays more and more children pick up skateboarding as their hobby but few can stick to it for very long, which makes her feel lonely. "Children who play skateboards are changing constantly. Those I met this year may be replaced by another group next year," she said.
Fortunately, Cao's parents always support her zeal for skateboarding. According to Cao, her parents have clear division for their duties as her father Cao Haifei is responsible for her training while her mother Zhou Hui takes care of household issues.
"When Cai Cai started to learn skateboarding, I was not that supportive as her father was," said Zhou. "However, I was touched by my daughter's true love for this sport. Even though she has got injured several times, she still wants to reach a higher level."
Since Cai Cai is already at top level of skateboarding among children at her age, her parents took her to Japan to communicate with her counterparts there. "Skateboarding is more popular there so she will find better opponents to learn from," said Zhou.
To better coach Cai Cai, her father has become a skateboarding expert, but he prefers to describe interest as his daughter's best teacher. "It is her own decision whether to be a professional athlete or not. Currently the development of skateboarding in China is still at an early age. I hope this sport will attract more attention and resources in the future," he said. ■