By Sportswriter Li Bowen
NANYANG, Henan Province, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Zhao Qiming, a rural migrant worker who makes a living as a cleaner in Nanyang, Henan Province, is so avid about sports, especially basketball, that from Larry Bird to the Bulls Dynasty ruled by Michael Jordan to the big three era of LeBron James, D-Wade and Chris Bosh, he gushed over the NBA like talking about his family.
However, free access to a basketball match at the Chinese National Peasants Games, which are being held in Nanyang, could not allure him into the venue.
"As a Nanyang local, I'm extremely excited about the Peasants' Games being held here, but I am busy all day long so that I do not even want to move a finger when I go back home lying in the bed," said Zhao.
"Even though I am a sports lover, I would just spend half an hour on the public fitness equipments in the park nearby, five times a month at most," he added.
Like Zhao, Zou Hehai, 25, a construction worker from Anhui Province, is also occupied by his daily work and has no time to do martial arts exercises.
"I have to support the whole family. I have to work over 10 hours every day, which leave me no time to take exercise. Everyday I'm totally exhausted after work," said Zou, who has pratcied martial arts for two years before getting married.
With increased calls from the media for shifting their focus from elite sports to grassroots sports, authorities have stepped up efforts to push forword the nationwide fitness drive.
"To meet the growing fitness demand of migrant workers, we are primarily doing two things. One is to invest more in the construction of sports facilities for migrant workers. The other is cooperating with large-scale enterprises to carry out more sports activities," said Shi Zhanxiang, deputy director of Social Sports Department of Henan Province Sports Bureau.
Shi's opinion was shared by Li Ning, the well-known Chinese gymnast and entrepreneur who ignited the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
"The government should undertake primary responsibility for migrant workers' fitness," said Li.
"The government should mark out certain area in the city to build open-ended venue for the specific group and their children. Other social organizations such as enterprises, NGOs should endeavor in physical and mental health training by recruiting more volunteers to help them."