Chinese universities are hoping to emulate the campus sporting culture of the US and convince Chinese students and their parents that sport is not a waste of time.
At a recent summit held in Shanghai, Chinese university sports officials discussed with their American counterparts how they could learn from successful university sport in the US, reported the China Daily.
Yang Liguo, vice-president and secretary-general of the Federation of University Sports China (Fusc), said that in the US he found it “hard to call students back to the classroom from the sports field, while in China it's hard to persuade them to go out to exercise on the playground”.
He added that he wanted to change the idea common among Chinese students, employers and university leaders that “playing sport is wasting time” and convince them that it “teaches valuable life lessons, such as teamwork, leadership and time management”.
“The collegiate athletic system in the US has been world-famous in not only developing elite athletes but also cultivating leaders in other fields,” he told the newspaper.
Fusc announced that it would extend its partnership with Pac-12, a US university athletics organisation, that allows Chinese coaches to train on US campuses.
Robin Harris, executive director of the Ivy League, said that Chinese universities needed to set up something akin to the US conference system, where institutions that are close to each other compete.