SHANGHAI, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Schools and universities should rather urge students to do more physical exercises than ban certain sport events, an expert has said in the wake of a series of deaths in sports.
A Shanghai Sanda University student died in hospital on Tuesday after passing out in a basketball class, the fourth death in four weeks when young people died from heart failure while practicing sports.
Experts said that the accidents should serve as a warning to sliding physical conditions of Chinese youth.
"Take men's 1,000 meters run as an example, now only half of the boys could pass the old 2007 standard," said Shandong Normal University's Yu Ying, a PE teacher for 28 years. China's Ministry of Education dropped the 1,000m passing mark from three minutes 50 seconds to 4:30 in 2007.
The latest national research by General Administration of Sport showed the physical conditions of university students kept slipping, though by a small margin. The lung capacity dropped by 10 percent compared with that in 1985 while the rate of nearsightedness rose to 80 percent.
The report by China's sports governing body also said the overweight rate among students between the age of 7-22 climbed to a new high.
"They look bigger than before but are actually fragile," Renmin University sport department deputy head Fu Hao said about his students. "A little bit more exercises could make them uncomfortable."
Despite the students' sliding physical conditions, schools and universities tend to cut "dangerous" events out of the physical education classes once accidents happen.
After a junior year student collapsed and died following a 1,000m test two weeks ago, Shanghai Donghua University decided to stop the winter running event while a number of universities canceled 3,000m and 5,000m at their sports meets.
For students, sports seems not always necessary.
"Boys' favorite sport is digital sport," junior year student Guo in Renmin University quipped. "If it is cold or hot, we stay in dorms playing computer games."
A Ministry of Education expert was worried about the unhealthy trend.
"Schools should not simply ban sport events because accidents happened. Instead, people need more exercises rather than cut back on their workout," said Sun Qilin who works with a team that makes guidelines for national physical education.
"We also need to study how to cultivate their interest in sports and teach them how to do exercises," he said.