GUIYANG, China (Xinhua) – When speaking about rock climbing, 10-year-old Wang Jing’s eyes suddenly light up.
“The first time I saw people rock climbing, I was fascinated by it. It was fun and exciting,” Wang smiled as he stood next to an artificial climbing wall at his primary school.
Wang is a student from Getu Primary School in a village in Ziyun county, southwest China’s Guizhou Province. Last year, he experienced rock climbing for the first time with the help of professional climbers after the 12m-high wall was installed.
“I was so excited the moment I reached the top of the wall,” Wang added.
Wang’s home village boasts a rock climbing park built in 2018, which contains climbing walls for both children and adults. Wang sometimes goes to the park to exercise.
“I always saw climbers from home and abroad warm up in the park and then go to the surrounding mountains for rock climbing, which attracted me a lot,” Wang recalled how his passion for the sport first grew.
Deputy Director of the county’s sports centre Pan Hu said the Ziyun government has been trying its best to introduce rock climbing into schools in recent years. At present, it has cooperated with two primary schools, including Getu Primary School, and a secondary school.
“People living in this area are mostly from the Miao ethnic group and in the past they had a tradition of climbing rocks with their bare hands,” Pan said, adding that the skills of these “spider-men” and “spider-women” have been passed down to the present generations.
Ziyun also has a large number of karst mountains which provide all types of natural rock walls for the climbers. In the past 20 years, this county has attracted many climbers from overseas who have come to develop different types of climbing routes.
“The climbing atmosphere here has influenced so many locals, especially children like Wang,” said Wei Tianzhi, headmaster of Getu Primary School, who added that a poll conducted last year showed that more than half of the 215 students in his school have a strong interest in the sport.