Original title: Coach Sun Jiangang: Little hockey carries big dreams
In the summer, the sound of hitting and shouting came from far and near, infecting the audience on the sidelines, sometimes sighing and sometimes applauding. The 45-year-old coach, Sun Jiangang, paid attention to the situation on the field while instructing the players on techniques and tactics. This is an ordinary practice game in the primary school affiliated to Jingyuan Normal School in Gansu Province, and it is also one of the practice points of Sun Jiangang’s “combination of sports and education”.
Over the past ten years, thanks to the efforts of several coaches including Sun Jiangang, the hockey project has gradually taken root in Jingyuan County, a small county on the coast of the Yellow River, attracting more and more children of all ages to participate.
“Every beginning is difficult,” said Sun Jiangang, head hockey coach of Jingyuan County Sports School, whose hockey team was established in 2008. At that time, a basketball court, a few sticks, and a few hockey balls were all the venues and equipment for local children to practice hockey.
“The training conditions are poor, and parents are worried that participating in sports will affect their learning. It is difficult to recruit young athletes.” Sun Jiangang said that he worked door-to-door and constantly encouraged parents and children to build a team with difficulty.
Sun Jiangang said that since the establishment of the team, his team members have been studying in their respective schools at ordinary times, and they can only conduct systematic training together after school or on weekends, and only have the opportunity to go out to play games during winter and summer vacations.
Since 2009, the hockey team of Jingyuan Sports School has participated in the National Youth Hockey Championship for more than ten consecutive years and won the national championship three times.
Children’s hockey is getting better and better, and it is inseparable from the gradual improvement of hardware and software facilities. At present, the number of hockey coaches at Jingyuan Sports School has increased from one to four. Three 6-a-side hockey pitches and one standard 11-a-side hockey pitch have been built in the local area.
During the competition in the past few years, Sun Jiangang and other coaches noticed that the children have not only improved their academic performance, but are also full of confidence in various activities.
Sun Jiangang said that in the past few years, the team has gone to Jiangsu Province, Sichuan Province and other places to carry out winter training, and shared food, accommodation, training and competition with hockey players from all over the country. “While improving their technical and tactical level, the children have broadened their horizons, and they are more generous in dealing with people and things. They have also established deep friendships with many team members from other places. They can often be seen interacting through letters and social media.”
Over the years, hockey, once an unpopular event, has become Jingyuan’s new “business card”. More and more parents of students are also willing to let their children participate in more sports such as hockey.
According to Gao Xiang, the principal of Jingyuan Sports School, the hockey team currently has more than 150 players in training. “Over the years, the school has trained more than 200 hockey talents, and successively sent more than 20 athletes to the Gansu Provincial Hockey Team and the National Men’s and Women’s Youth Hockey Team.” Gao Xiang said.
Yang Faxiang practiced hockey with Sun Jiangang from the very beginning of the team. Later, he was twice selected for the national team to participate in international competitions. In the men’s hockey competition of the 14th National Games held last year, the 25-year-old won the fourth place on behalf of the Gansu men’s hockey team. “Hockey changed the trajectory of my life and I love it,” he said.
Since 2008, Jingyuan Sports School has started to send hockey coaches to schools such as Jingshi Primary School to help. Later, Jingyuan Sports School also signed agreements with Jingyuan Primary School, Jingyuan County No. 4 Middle School and other units, and the coaches of the sports school will conduct training in the form of clubs and quality development courses in each school, opening up the talent training channel from primary school to high school. .
For more than ten years, the training mode of “combining sports and education” has made hockey in the small town a “fist project”. In 2020, Jingyuan Sports School was recognized as the “National Hockey Olympic Reserve Talent Base” by the State Sports General Administration, and the primary school attached to Jingshi Normal University was recognized as the “China Hockey Promotion School”.
Over the years, the blooming of hockey events is also a microcosm of the vigorous development of national fitness in Jingyuan. Data shows that since 2019, Jingyuan’s newly built Beiwan Town Public Stadium and Wulan Town Sports Park have been completed and put into use, and a 15-minute fitness circle in urban communities has basically been formed. In addition, 15 rural multi-purpose sports fields have been built, and 150 “one village, one field” have been built, and the full coverage of administrative villages has been achieved, benefiting more than 400,000 people in 147 administrative villages in 18 townships (towns).
Today, in Jingyuan, football, basketball, hockey, badminton and other competitions have been carried out on a regular basis. “In Jingyuan, physical fitness has now become a new fashion,” said Zhang Keke, director of the Jingyuan County Bureau of Culture, Sports, Radio, Television and Tourism. (Reporter Cheng Nan)