By Ji Fang
Tong Baomin, a Chinese social sports instructor, has been serving as a volunteer for China’s national fitness program for more than 10 years.
Joining the tide of live streaming, Tong recently moved his fitness classes online. So far, he has provided over 300 hours of free courses on the internet and become very popular among many sports lovers.
Tong’s bond with the national fitness program was established in 2008. That year, the Beijing Olympics was held and he graduated from Beijing Sport University.
“A huge amount of people were seen doing sports and physical exercises on the streets.” Tong stated that the Olympic Games sparked people’s interest for sports, which made him realized that his academic education may be of tremendous help.
On the first National Fitness Day of China which fell on Aug. 8, 2009, a Tai Chi performance was staged at the Beijing Olympic Park by around 34,000 people, including Tong and his team. Tong is quite proud of this experience. “They were all eager to participate, but many of them could not do the moves right. That was exactly where I could help,” he recalled.
This experience further aroused Tong’s enthusiasm. Since then, he has been devoting more time to Tai Chi teaching in the neighborhood and managed to acquire a state-level qualification for social sports instructors, which better helps him with his volunteer services.
Besides, Tong has made over 30 video materials about Tai Chi, Kung Fu fan, and Kung Fu umbrella, as well as 30 image-text materials that explain the breakdowns of the moves.
“Every year we would make new martial arts routines and set new standards according to their development, so as to offer more choices for the public,” Tong said.
Chinese people are gaining an increasingly higher awareness of fitness, and more and more of them are joining fitness activities. In recent years, Tong has spent almost all weekends and holidays offering fitness volunteer services.
“I’m always kept busy on weekends and holidays because there are a lot more people doing fitness exercises on these days,” he told People’s Daily.
Over the past 10 years, Tong has visited more than 60 cities across China for sports instruction, from which he witnessed the increasingly important status of sports in the daily life of Chinese citizens.
“People are getting more passionate about sports, and they are also gaining a higher sense of fulfillment and happiness,” Tong said.
In 2014, China updated the national fitness program into a national strategy, which was followed by the issuance of a series of documents on enhancing sports facilities and building a higher-level public service system of national fitness.
According to statistics released in 2020, 37.2 percent of Chinese citizens aged seven and above frequently participated in physical exercises, up 3.3 percent from the figure in 2014, and 90.4 percent of Chinese citizens measured up to the physical constitution standards, up 0.8 percent from that in 2014.
Tong believes the training of social sports instructors shall become more systematic and focus on practice, as the national fitness system gets more and more improved. Therefore, he would constantly record great experiences and practices he sees.
Three years ago, he joined a research activity held by the center for social sports instruction under the General Administration of Sports, during which he visited two social sports instruction stations in Fuyang, east China’s Anhui province and participated in a local sports event for farmers.
This trip left a deep impression on him. “How to make people interested in and passionate about sports is a very important topic. The communication with my peers inspired me a lot,” he said.
Over the past years, many sports lovers, physical education teachers, athletes, and sports researchers have joined volunteer services for national fitness, making the group of social sports instructors larger and larger. It is reported that as of the end of 2021, over 2.7 million social sports instructors had acquired certificates of skill levels, and there were 1.91 social sports instructors for every 1,000 Chinese nationals.
“I am a social sports instructor, and I hope I can turn more people into sports lovers through my professionalism,” Tong said.