You Siyuan is one of China's gymnasts at the 13th Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships. China is facing a problem finding new sporting talents because of the country's one-child policy. – ART CHEN / The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: China’s one-child policy has caused an unexpected problem for the country – finding new sporting talents.
Despite being a long-time sporting superpower, China’s head of delegates at the 13th Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships Yuan Yanchun said the policy has caused some problems when it comes to identifying new talents.
The policy was introduced back in 1979, although last November the Chinese Government promised to relax the ruling by allowing couples to have two children, with the provision that one parent should be an only child.
“Parents know that gymnastics is a tough sport. Just like any other sport, there is the threat of injury. So, not all parents are willing to allow their children to become athletes,” said Yanchun.
“Even the gymnasts that we have with us have only been training for about three years now. So, it’s a lot tougher,” she added.
China’s junior gymnasts will be making their international debut at the championships at Stadium Putra in Bukit Jalil on Friday.
However, a couple of near-flawless practice rounds for China in the group exercise category on Thursday was a good enough reason to cast them as early contenders for the title along with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Japan.
Yanchun played down their prospects saying she only wanted her gymnasts to “perform their best”.
“This is their first international competition. So, we can’t say we’re contenders. We picked this competition because the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) will be in Nanjing this year and and we want to give them exposure at the next level. Maybe this will give them something extra to fight for,” she said.
When asked who would be their toughest opponents in the group exercise competition, China coach Su Dan said, “I don’t know. We only focus on ourselves. We just want them to do their best.”
China have named an 11-strong squad comprising Wang Xiurong, Jin Kebing, Shi Jiayi, Liu Xin, Hu Yuhui (individual category) and You Siyuan, Li Ziyi, Wang Ruiqi, Wang Yujia, Shang Rong and Zhao Yating (group exercise category).