Int'l kung fu enthusiasts compete online

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A global kung fu online contest hosted by Shaolin Temple in central China’s Henan Province, the birthplace of Shaolin kung fu, attracted more than 5,000 enthusiasts from 90 countries and regions.

Marta Neskovic, 29, from Serbia, was awarded the women’s Yizhaogong, or Shaolin kung fu “one move,” due to her superb performance.

Influenced by her mother, Neskovic became interested in Shaolin and Chan Buddhism when she was little. The different cultures were fresh and new.

Neskovic, who is also an anthropologist, had practiced martial arts before she came to the Shaolin Temple in 2018 to receive professional training.

“I stayed for two and a half years, I love kung fu so much. Practicing kung fu is good for mental and physical health,” she said.

Shaolin Temple has held exchange and interaction activities with its fans across the world over the years. About 2,000 foreigners come to the 1,500-year-old temple to learn kung fu and experience Shaolin life every year.

“Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shaolin Temple held an online competition this year, providing a platform where overseas kung fu enthusiasts can take part in,” said Shi Yongxin, abbot of the temple.

Contestants applied for the online competition and uploaded videos, which were scored by professional referees. In some videos, family members joined in, and villagers gathered to watch.

Austrian Werner Preining, 81, was one of the oldest contestants. He started to learn kung fu eight years ago and has visited China four times.

“I like kung fu very much as it has become part of my lifestyle,” Preining said.

The competition promoted the exchange of Chinese culture and other cultures through Shaolin kung fu, said Andreas Riecken, Austrian ambassador to China, in a congratulatory letter.

The results of the online contest will be published in early March, and first prize winners will be invited to Shaolin Temple for a real-life experience.

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