Shaanxi Opera, leather shadow puppetry, ink-painting on water, dough sculpture, paper cutting, Hanfu clothes, drums, Terracotta warrior mascots.
Divers from the World Aquatics Diving World Cup were absorbed in dazzling Chinese cultural elements during their one-week stay in Xi’an, a historical ancient capital of 13 dynasties.
A total of 63 elite divers from 13 teams competed in the Diving World Cup, while host China swept nine golds at the top-tier international competition. However, medals were not the only thing divers sought; stepping out of the pool, they also gained a better understanding of Chinese traditional culture.
A “walking street” en route to the dining hall in the athletes’ hotel was decorated with Chinese intangible cultural heritages by local organizers.
Olympic gold medalist Jack Laugher of Britain was attracted to the cultural performances in the hotel.
“I have been to Xi’an at least five times during the last 10 years. It is a really, really cool way to learn about Chinese culture just within our hotel. I have banged on drums and played with shadow puppets. By the way, the event mascot of Terracotta Warriors is very cute,” said Laugher, who was awarded three mascots as he took two silvers and a bronze from the World Cup.
Eduard Cristian Timbretti Gugiu and his Italian teammates enjoyed Chinese folk music and took photos wearing Chinese traditional clothes, Hanfu.
“We have seen many interesting things here. The Hanfu clothes are very unique and cool. The music is so different from Westerns. I am learning a lot. It’s fun,” Gugiu told Xinhua.
“It is my first time visiting China, and I am really interested in many things. I also tried noodle making, but I don’t know what to call them; there are too many types and flavors. Some of the noodles taste really good. The local specialty food – sandwich with meat (Roujiamo) – is very delicious,” said the 20-year-old Italian.
Christina Wassen and her younger sister Elena decided to try on Hanfu after their competition. “It’s incredibly beautiful. We have not tried on the clothes before our competition, but we will do that after for sure,” said the German platform diver.
Many athletes were attracted by handcraft making and learned to make traditional shadow puppets with leather and Tang Liu Cai, an ink painting technique on water invented in Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).
“The art of painting on water is just the same as our sport. We always try to present our best gestures into water,” Danylo Konovalov of Ukraine had his understanding of ancient Chinese art and water. “I have tried some good ink paintings.”
Isaac Souza Filho and his Brazilian compatriots tried on traditional Chinese facial makeup and had a fun time experiencing Chinese food.
“We were told the makeup patterns we picked meant happiness and good fortune. I learned to make Chinese noodles and Flower Mo Bread, though I have never cooked at home. Now I can show my new cooking skills to my family when I come back home,” Souza Filho quipped.
Officials from World Aquatics, the world governing body of aquatic sports, were impressed by both the professional organization and the cultural activities in Xi’an.
“The city of Xi’an is extraordinary because it has a very wide historical interest with a huge amount of cultural experiences. The management of the event has been absolutely perfect, and it takes it to another level,” said Beck Melanie, secretary-in-general of the Diving Technical Committee of World Aquatics.
Jesus Mena, vice chairperson of the Diving Technical Committee of World Aquatics, said he would come back to Xi’an as many times as possible.
“The facility and event organization is at the Olympic level. This means that this is the top of the organization, volunteers, audience and beautiful city… I would recommend and suggest that we come back here as many times as possible. This is really a perfect host that we are delighted to be in Xi’an,” Jesus said.
The local organizers would like to share more different aspects of the Chinese traditional culture with international athletes in the future.
“We took the Diving World Cup as our first attempt in 2023, combining sports and culture as a whole. There are much more traditional cultural aspects we would like to share with international friends in the future,” said Ma Rui, director of the Sports Bureau in Xi’an.
“We believe it will bring into full play with great charm and influence of sports events which highlight the unique role in building our city brand and promote the development of the sports industry,” Ma added.
Source : News