Feature: Tibetan students chase baseball dream-Xinhua

Feature: Tibetan students chase baseball dream

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-02 10:19:31

By Geng Huihuang and Li Linhai

XINING, China, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Under the gentle sunshine, 12-year-old Lhamo Dondre and his teammates engaged in pitching practice on their school's playground. Drenched in sweat, their coach signaled the beginning of the inning.

Lhamo Dondre hails from Gonghe County in Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, northwestern China. Two years prior, he joined the baseball team at No. 1 Minzu boarding primary school in Gonghe County.

At over 3,000 meters above sea level, Gonghe County boasts lush grasslands and serene valleys. The children raised here share a unique bond with nature, with many having experience in herding.

"Whenever the sheep and cattle get separated, we will toss stones to lead their direction, which brings us strong shoulders and wrists," explained Byambzang Gyla, Lhamo Dondre's baseball coach.

Lhamo Dondre swings the bat powerfully despite his slight frame. He enjoys pitching and swinging in the "cool uniforms." "When I get to know more about this sport, with every pitch and swing getting more precise, I become much more skilled and confident," said Lhamo Dondre.

Besides his routine training at school, he also practices against the wall at home during weekends and holidays.

In 2006, the Hainan Prefecture's Education Department introduced baseball into local high schools, later expanding to middle and primary schools. Byambzang Gyla began teaching baseball at the primary school in 2011 when the team was established.

Initially, some teachers were skeptical about their students dedicating time to baseball, fearing it might detract from their academic studies, said Sonam Dargye, the school's principal and president of the Hainan Prefecture Baseball Association. However, seeing the positive impact of baseball on the students' physical fitness and their broadened horizons through participation in matches, teachers now encourage student involvement in the sport.

Recalling the debut of a national student baseball competition held in Guangdong in 2014, Byambzang Gyla is still very proud. "Our team had a 20-0 win, it stunned us and everyone who watched the game, and since then, more local students have been inspired to take up baseball," he noted.

The number of students practicing baseball at this primary school has grown from a few to nearly 90. Since 2011, Byambzang Gyla has coached nine batches of students, with many continuing to play in junior and senior high schools. Some have even entered university on baseball scholarships.

"Baseball requires teamwork, brings our students more options, and helps them develop a better version of their own. I hope they can treasure this sport as a sincere friend," said Sonam Dargye.