(BEIJING, August 5) -- On Tuesday, the press conference regarding Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 was launched with a series of well-executed punches and kicks.
The Chinese team competing in the martial arts tournament gave a brief presentation before officials introduced various aspects of the event at the Main Press Center in Beijing.
The IOC has approved the tournament, which will be hosted by BOCOG and the International Wushu Federation (IWUF), said Wang Xiaolin, secretary general of IWUF. From August 21-24, 10 gold medals for taolu and 5 gold medals for sanshou will be awarded at the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium.
128 athletes from 43 countries and regions will be participating in the event. According to IWUF regulations, each country or region may enter a maximum of eight events out of the 15, in order to open up the chances for more countries to medal. Of the 128 martial artists, 20 were wild card draws (limited to one athlete per country or region), allowing those who did not excel at the 9th World Wushu Tournament in 2007 a chance to compete in Beijing.
"The athletes, coaches and referees, as well as officials from International Wushu Federation, are due to arrive in Beijing on August 18," Wang informed reporters. Because they are not Olympic athletes, as Wushu is not a recognized Olympic event, they may not be living at the Olympic Village. Wang emphasized that the Wushu competition is a special tournament and is not related to the Olympic Games. When the athletes arrive in China as invited guests of the Chinese Wushu Association, special IDs will be provided to them in accordance with Wushu rules.
Wushu's worldwide development is something that the IWUF strives for. "Wushu is not only a sport; it is also a good way of the fitness of the body. We want to promote it in the world so that everyone in the world can take advantage of taking this sport," Wang stated. To be included on the Olympic roster is an eventual goal, but Wang recognizes that the road ahead is long.
The official believes that through the Wushu tournament, western and Chinese cultural exchange will be furthered.
For him, there are two parts to Wushu. "One of them is the competing side of the martial arts, and the other is the traditional martial arts. Wushu promotes both of these two aspects at the same time. Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 is a very big event," Wang explained.
The tournament will kick off its first event at 9 a.m. on August 21. Every morning, afternoon and evening thereafter until August 24, sanshou or taolu events will be held.
"Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 is embodiment of eastern and western cultures, as well as the concept of 'People's Olympics.' We are convinced that with the support of BOCOG and International Wushu Federation, as well as from media friends, this competition is going to be a complete success," Wang said confidently.