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Archery lovers in China

September 11th, 2013 Comments off

Putting down his cigarette, Beijing native Chen Ning arches his back to stretch and then nonchalantly exhales a tube of

Chinese archers are targeting more publicity to help their sport grow. Photo by Li Hao,GT

Chinese archers are targeting more publicity to help their sport grow. Photo by Li Hao,GT

smoke as he draws back the bowstring. Ping goes the release followed by a whoosh and then a thud in quick succession. It’s all one sound. He takes another arrow from the miniature golf-bag sized fanny pack drooped around his waist and takes aim: Ping-whoosh-thud… bull’s eye. That’s 10 points on the target. Chen, 33, revisits the cigarette once again, a look of satisfaction on his face.

“China is not taking care of archery at all. It’s really quite pathetic,” Chen fumes between drags. Chen is one of roughly 1,000 fee-paying members at Beijing’s Sunny Focus Sports Club in Sanyuanqiao, Chaoyang district. It’s one of the few places with comprehensive indoor archery facilities in the city center.

Chen says that despite the large number of archery lovers in China, the government is doing very little in terms of funding and promotion for the sport. He laments that archery still falls short of making broadcast schedules for terrestrial television. “It’s not exactly like football,” he notes glumly.

In some ways, it is surprising that Chinese archery has not become a hit with the public. The sport received a natural upsurge in popularity during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when Shandong native Zhang Juanjuan became the first non-Korean since 1984 to win gold in the women’s individual event. Last summer in London, archer Dai Xiaoxiang became the first Chinese male to win a medal in the men’s individual event.

But for those smitten with the primitive weapon, widespread media coverage once every four years is nowhere near enough. According to Chen, compared with other countries, archery in China has yet to receive sufficient media exposure to entice sponsorship money that could help recruit and nurture talent at club level. Apart from the national teams, the sport is still very much a self-funded amateur endeavor. Clubs like Sunny Focus are thriving on the passion of their members.

“We spend our own money to take part in our own competitions,” Chen says. “The entrance fees pay for the trophies awarded to the winners.”
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Beijing TopSpeed Archery Club

May 8th, 2010 4 comments

Beijing TopSpeed Archery Club & Beijing Archery Studio

Beijing Archery Studio is in the business of marketing archery equipment. Founded in 1996, the Archery Studio has been a retailer for many foreign brands of archery equipment in China. With a full-size bow press,shooting machine, automatic speed measurement device and other specialized equipment, it is the largest professional archery equipment vendors in China.

The Top Speed Archery club was established this year under majority shareholder Mr. Yin Lee (Pinyin: Li-yin). The 850 sq. meter club facilities include 29 shooting lanes, as well as lane monitors, security monitoring system, shooting lane dividers and other safety equipment. The club also maintains a special facility on the outskirts of Beijing (nearly 2 sq. km area) for outdoor field archery and 3D shooting. The club’s management team consists of national team members, the national champion, professional coaches and other professional staff. Mr. Xu Kaicai, former coach of China’s national team and long-time promoter of archery in China, is the club’s honorary advisor. Meng Fan’ai (former national team leader) and other archery veterans have also given generous support to the club. In terms of scale and technological sophistication, the Top Speed Archery Club is currently the largest and the most advanced archery club in China.
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“Good arrows” from Ju’an Horseback Archery Club

April 15th, 2010 1 comment

Source: Global Times
Photos: Courtesy of Ju’an Horseback Archery Club
By Gao Fumao ([email protected])

It’s the last thing you expect, out among the truck fixers, the bathroom tile stores and the excavators for hire. This is Daxing, Beijing’s industrial southern backside. Not pretty, so where the hell are the archers, the men on horseback we’ve come to see?

Down a dusty side road we went, past yards of steel and car scrap. Still no horses, no arrows flying, though suddenly there are sandpits and some scrubland, which could conceivably hide bowmen, I’m thinking.

And then our car is waved into a yard, into the little-known world of Chinese horseback archery. Welcome to the Ju’an Horseback Archery Club. On the east bank of the faded Yongding River, a businessman turned equestrian Chen Liang is helping lead a revival of Chinese archery tradition around his small riding club, where locals learn to ride for 120 yuan ($17) a 40-minute class.

Chinese empires have depended on the skill of the legions that defended the national territory from the backs of ponies. Today instead of infantrymen defending the frontiers, local bowmen are a small but dedicated core inspired by the ancient Chinese arching tradition.

Ju’an, founded in August 2009, is as much about reviving horseback archery in Beijing, but it’s also a code “a living attitude,” explained Chen, tanned and wiry but with steel-gray hair making him look older than his 37 years. Horseback archery promotes in Ju’an members a “natural way of living…because people spend too much time and money on houses.”

Opposite the small prefabricated clubhouse, two horses move around a ring-shaped arena. If you’re good enough, as you canter around you shoot arrows inside the iron railings at circular target boards of concentric yellow and red discs. As he canters in circles, bow in one hand, Chen is clearly in care and awe of his steed, Long Fei, a dark five-year-old gelding and one of 10 horses kept in stables on the site.
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