Beijing, Oct 17 (IANS) More than 2,200 contestants from 83 countries will participate in a world martial arts competition to be held in China over the next three days.
The 4th World Traditional Wushu Championships is being held in the hinterland city of Shiyan near the Wudang Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of a main sect of Chinese martial arts, Xinhua reported.
In a flurry of spectacular fireworks, the opening ceremony of the championships began Saturday in a newly-renovated stadium in the presence of more than 5,000 audience.
Hollywood star and martial artist Jackie Chan said that he is proud to see people from all over the world coming to learn martial arts in China and that he hopes the sport will become a formal medal event at the Olympic Games.
"Chinese culture will be better understood this way," he added.
During the three-day championships, contestants from 196 delegations will participate in 300 events including Shaolin boxing, Wudang boxing, Tai chi chuan.
"Contestants outnumber those in previous championships, making this year' s event the biggest ever in the field of Chinese martial arts." Wang Xiaolin, general secretary of the International Wushu Federation, said in a press conference before the opening ceremony.
"Wushu originated in China but belongs to the world. It is not only a sport but also a part of Chinese culture. The championships will have a far-reaching effect on the promotion of Chinese martial arts around world as China is set to enhance its cultural and soft power," Wang said.
"We have been trying to push Wushu to become an event at the future Summer Olympic Games. There is, of course, a long way to go and currently we are mulling simplifying the sport and make it accepted by Pan-American Games and All-Africa Games first," Wang said.