Here in Shaoguan, you can feel the rhythm of Guangdong

Summer time in Guangdong province, when the sun is high up in the sky, every breath you take can let you feel the “warmth of nature” inside your body. At this time, if there is a gentle breeze passing by, a burst of cheer will arise in the crowd.

Shaoguan city, located in the north of Guangdong province, has boundless green plants which bring cool breeze to the city in summer time. In summer, wind from the mountains goes over the green fields and dances by the pulse of the land, it then goes over the rivers and plays with the boats on the water, filling the air with its passion and spirit. 

Dragon boat racing, folk custom with long history

Dragon boat racing is a traditional Chinese water sports. The history of dragon boat racing in Shaoguan can be traced back to the early Republic of China. At that time, the ancestors of Shuikou Village, Chongyang Town, Wujiang District, had the custom of racing dragon boats. At that time,dragon boats were called "Muzhu Dragon", which was famous along the rivers from Lechang county to Yingde county. According to the documentation, Shaoguan’s first city-wide dragon boat racing was held in 1988, after that, dragon boat racing activities were mostly held in counties. In 1996, the city-wide dragon boat racing was re-organized, then it became a yearly event after that. 

Dragon boat museum in Shuikou village [Photo/Chen Li]

As times change and with the development of science and technology, Shaoguan’s dragon boat racing keeps evolving too. In the past, people would all gather along rivers to watch dragon boat racing, while now everyone can choose to watch on the spot or stay at home and enjoy the activity online. Dragon boat racing used to be rowed by man only, but now female can take part in it too. The city just invited dragon boat racing teams domestically before, while now it has become an international event. Before, dragon boat racing was just about the activity itself, now it has become an event includes "boat racing + performance + tourism promotion". In Shaoguan, dragon boat racing was always open water race only while now it is organized in unpowered water base too. All of these changes show us that Shaoguan’s dragon boat racing is getting much more open and inclusive.

Dragon boat racing [Photo/Chongyang Town]

Dragon boats are marching ahead to compete for the first place, which also reflects the team work spirit and courage to race to the top. Meanwhile, dragon boat racing brings fun and enjoyment to people’s spare time and stimulates vitality of the city. In order to inherit the local dragon boat culture, Shaoguan has built a dragon boat museum and held various dragon boat experience activities in Wujiang District Chongyang Water Sports Base to promote tourism and build the brand of "Paradise for Outdoor Sports".

Boat racing during Dragon Boat Festival [Photo/Zhang Wei]

Three key sports events that held in Mount Danxia

To promote Shaoguan city as the so called "Paradise for Outdoor Sports" , Danxia Mountain scenic area should always be included in the promotion. Its numerous red and steep peaks, and the crooked trails in the mountains make it an ideal place for outdoor activities. Three key sports events are held here every year, which are Tour Danxia Mountain Bicycle Race, Danxia Mountain 50km Hiking and Danxia Mountain Marathon.

The 14th Danxia Mountain 50km Hiking

From ancient times to the present, Mount Danxia is famous for its five characteristics of grandeur,craggedness, uniqueness, beauty and deep valleys and unique cultural relics, which attracts countless literati to come and visit.

Mount Danxia

Hiking is the best way to enjoy the scenery of Mount Danxia. Among the three events, Danxia Mountain 50km Hiking is the most popular one and has the longest history, attracting a large number of domestic and international hikers to participate in each year. From the first Danxia Mountain 50km Hiking to the 14th, about 150000 people have taken part in these events. Among the participants, many of them have participated in the events for years. During the years, they have witnessed the improvement of tourist service and facilities in Mount Danxia tourist scenic spot. They said that there are more and more better designed and arranged tourist trails, parking areas, toilets, trash cans and other supporting facilities in the scenic area, while the number of homestays, hotels and local restaurants around the scenic area is increasing year by year, providing visitors with a variety of choices and more convenience.

Compared with the Danxia Mountain 50km Hiking, the Tour Danxia Mountain Bicycle Race and Danxia Mountain Marathon have not been running for a long time. However, they have also attracted more than 10,000 participants. Due to their high popularity among young people, on the occasions of the events, young people always bring full vitality to Mount Danxia.

Danxia Mountain Marathon

The public’s enthusiasm in sports activities such as hiking, cycling, marathon and orienteering has become increasingly high. Relevant sports activities have been held in various places. However, Mount Danxia is the only one that can perfectly integrate the sports events with national AAAAA-level tourist attraction.

Shaoguan citizens are having more choices regarding sports activities

In recent years, based on the public’s interest in physical activities and sports, the municipality has vigorously promoted public sports events and the construction of sports infrastructure. By the end of 2021, the area of sports venues in the city was more than 7.88 million square meters, with 2.60 square meters per capita. There are now 43 public stadiums, 9,352 sports venues of all kinds, 7,462 ball game venues, 1,183 sports and fitness venues, 136 gyms, 847 trails and 200 jogging tracks, and 3 large sports stadiums. Big public sports venues both in the city and counties are all open to the public for free. At the same time, after sorting out the existing sports infrastructure and  the demand for new sports facilities in the city, the municipality are actively constructing the "15-minute fitness circle" in urban and rural areas, so as to promote the citizens’ awareness in fitness and sports.

Shaozhou Sports Park [Photo/He Lijian]

Xihe Sports Center [Photo/Feng Zhaoyu]

Shaozhou Sports Park has been fully completed. On July 24th , the 13th Student Sports Games of Guangdong Province, will be held here, which would be the main stadium for the sports games as well as the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the games. The young athletes will surely fill the sports park with their ebullience, vitality and energy, giving the park a grand opening.

With the increasing number of sports venues, people in Shaoguan are gaining more interest and enthusiasm in various sports activities, bringing betterment to their lives. Shaoguan, while initiating innovation in mass sports activities and increasing its sports and fitness venues, is interpreting sportsmanship in its unique way.

Shaoguaners, let us be together for a better future!