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      The b-girl bidding to break new ground for China

      China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-12-14 09:29
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      Breaking will be a medal event at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. XINHUA

      Eight years ago, Zeng Yingying began performing her breaking routines to passers-by in a square in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. Now she can dream of dancing her way to Olympic gold for China.

      Breaking, commonly known as breakdancing, was officially ratified as a medal event for the 2024 Paris Games following an International Olympic Committee vote on Dec 7, giving b-boys and b-girls like Zeng the chance to strut their stuff on sports' biggest stage.

      "I am so excited," said Zeng, who goes by the name of Yingzi in the breaking scene. "I feel that I can dream bigger now. The bar has been raised. I hope to enter the national team and win honor for China in Paris."

      Zeng has been a sports lover since childhood. At 14, she was selected by an athletics coach from Guangzhou for heptathlon training. After high school, her exceptional performances in triple jump and hurdles earned her a place at Ningbo University in Zhejiang province.

      The summer before Zeng went to college, a friend introduced her to street dancing and she was immediately captivated.

      "It's really cool," Zeng told Xinhua. "Compared with breaking, track and field is a little boring."

      Zeng and her friends always practice in Xi'an's main square, and invariably attract curious onlookers impressed by their moves.

      With the help of the breaking association at Ningbo University, Zeng improved quickly and by 2015 she had won titles in several competitions organized by local clubs.

      She really shot to prominence at the 2019 World Breaking Championships in Nanjing, where she was the only Chinese to reach the knockout stage before eventually finishing fourth.

      That was the best result by a Chinese breaker on the world stage. Zeng went on to become the only Chinese dancer to compete at the World Urban Games in Budapest, where she was eliminated in the last 16.

      "I know that I need to work harder," the 27-year-old said. "There are too many strong competitors in the world, especially those from Japan, the United States and France."

      Zeng's parents have often asked her to consider switching to a "normal" job, like being a sports trainer, however she is unwilling to give up her passion.

      "After achieving a good result at last year's world championships, my parents have become more supportive," said Zeng. "Now that it has become an official Olympic sport, they finally believe that a breaker can have a bright future."

      The COVID-19 pandemic did not appear to affect Zeng's form over the past six months-she won four national tournaments and finished second in another.

      "My next goal is to win gold at next year's Chinese National Games," she said. "Then I will prepare for the Paris Olympics."


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