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Beijing Olympic venue on campus leaves lasting legacy

Beijing, May 20 (IANS) At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, four Chinese athletes won gold medals in judo and taekwondo at the gymnasium of the University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB). 15 years later, they went back to the competition venue to take in the training atmosphere on campus.

Judo gold medalists Xian Dongmei, Yang Xiuli, Tong Wen and taekwondo champion Wu Jingyu became the first members of the USTB Olympic Hall of Fame last month, together with USTB graduate Gong Lijiao, the women’s shot put gold medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, reports Xinhua.

“USTB is known for cultivating talents in the iron and steel industry, but we also attach great importance to physical education and carry forward the Olympic spirit through a variety of sporting courses and activities,” said Sun Jinghong, a leading USTB official.

The gymnasium was officially opened to the public in April 2009. “It has become a geographical symbol of the spiritual wealth of USTB,” said Ju Yang, head of the venue’s management center.

Wang Linru, once a taekwondo athlete, enrolled at USTB for undergraduate study in 2016. “The Olympic venue here was the reason for me to choose USTB,” she said.

According to the USTB sports department, 21 physical education courses in 50 categories are offered to students, while 26 students’ sports associations organize more than 70 activities each year under the faculty’s guidance.

Liu Mingzhu, an associate professor at USTB’s School of Economics and Management, always encourages his students to do more physical exercise, calling it a lifelong undertaking.

Freshman Huang Zhouyang excels at volleyball, badminton and table tennis. “I feel lucky to study at USTB, where I can acquire knowledge, enhance my physical fitness and learn the Olympic values,” he said.

The Olympic venue has also helped enlist a number of sporting professionals for the faculty. “Many of our faculty members are national champions, covering judo, taekwondo, table tennis, swimming and basketball,” said He Qun, a teacher from USTB’s sports department.

Hou Kun, a member of the Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission of International Olympic Committee, said that the Olympic venue on campus now serves physical education, athlete training and public fitness, representing a good example of the sustainable use of the venue.

Gong Lijiao, who started her college life at USTB in 2007, is delighted to see that sports continue to be a main part of campus life.

“Exercise has been a tradition in our university, and hopefully the Olympic Hall of Fame will inspire more youths to pursue their own dreams,” she said.