"I’m happy to see the news. Even if I can’t catch it myself, my younger brothers and sisters still have a chance to get on the stage of the Olympic Games!" Tang Chenbo of the Waist Flag Rugby Team of the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology excitedly shared the good news that he and his friends welcomed. Recently, the Organizing Committee of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games proposed to add five major events, namely baseball and softball, cricket, stick tennis, squash and waist flag rugby. According to the latest news,The International Olympic Committee was voted by the plenary session, and these five major events officially became the new events of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games..
Waist flag rugby
Officially entered the "Olympic era"!
On October 15th, Tang Chenbo’s team and seven other Shanghai university flag football teams participated in the 2023 "Industrial Bank Cup" Shanghai City Amateur Football League and the "Yundong Yangpu Xiuwai" University League Flag Football Open. On the same day, the news that "flag football entered the Olympics" was a hot topic for these college players after the game.
In recent years, China Rugby Association has promoted local rugby associations, firmly grasped the competition and popularized the "two ends", and promoted the sustained and healthy development of rugby in China. Now, this sport has once again ushered in a new historical opportunity. "The entry of new projects into the Olympics will not only usher in a large number of new audiences, but also usher in new players and new teams. In the future, the players who represent China in the Olympic flag rugby project are likely to be among them. " Ding Ye, secretary general of Shanghai Rugby Association, said.
The University of Shanghai for Science and Technology team won the 2023 "Industrial Bank Cup" Shanghai City Amateur League Rugby League and the "Yundong Yangpu Xiuwai" University League Waist Flag Rugby Open Championship.
Why can the "waist flag" enter the Olympics?
The huge stadium, heavily armed athletes and two huge teams on the field ….. these should be many people’s impressions of rugby. However, on the same day, in the waist flag football field in Shanghai Sport University, the reporter looked around and there were no big helmets, thick armor and other slightly bulky protective gear. Only young teenagers wearing shorts and sports T-shirts run, dodge, pass and catch the ball in a sports field the size of a 5-7-a-side football field. The most eye-catching thing on the field is the two long belts tied around each player’s waist.
"The threshold is low, the rules are simple, and the demand for venues is not so high. At the same time, the risk of injury is reduced, and the competition experience is not diminished. Regardless of boys and girls, height and thinness, and novice Xiaobai, you can find your own role and feel the fun of flag football." When it comes to the characteristics of this sport, Zhuang Hengli, a physical education teacher at Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a few treasures. His words explain why flag football can become a new member of the Olympic Games.
In recent years, the word "slimming" is often associated with the Olympic Games. Especially after the International Olympic Committee President Bach took office, the Summer Olympic Games broke through the restrictions of 28 major events, and the host also had more initiative in setting events, at the same time, it made room for the Olympic Games to attract young people to join sports.
The 2028 Olympic Games landed in Los Angeles, USA, and the flag football, which is in the same strain as American football, became one of the main events of the Los Angeles Olympic Games early. As a non-contact, zero-equipment, small-venue football competition form, flag football has no requirements for the number, age and physical quality of participants, even if it is based on zero sports, it can quickly integrate into the team and can realize mixed teams of men and women to compete in the same field. According to the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, there are more children playing flag football in the United States than traditional football, and at the competition level, there are about 20 million flag football players in more than 100 countries, and the players’ participation is balanced.
As IOC President Bach said earlier, the new project should make the Olympic Games younger, closer to city life and more gender-balanced. These, the flag football are all matched.
Why is Shanghai qualified to be a "new starting point"
It is understood that the National Football League (NFL), one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, is the main promoter of flag football entering the Olympic Games. As early as two years ago, Jia Hengxuan, general manager of NFL China, once revealed that "the entry of the waist flag into the Olympics is progressing smoothly". Now that the dust has settled, it is urgent to lay out and build a "national team selection channel" as soon as possible if China rugby is to make a difference in Los Angeles in 2028. In Jia Hengxuan’s words, "The development of Shanghai rugby is ahead of the whole country, and it is very suitable as a new starting point for China rugby to impact the Olympic Games."
The NFL thinks that Shanghai can be the "starting point" because it has the best rugby soil in the country. There are many data that can prove this "soil". From 2020, the first national flag rugby community activity was organized by Shanghai Rugby Association (hereinafter referred to as "Shanghai Rugby Association") and called on all member units to develop together. This new outdoor sports mode of sports+socialization, which is widely sought after by young people and commercial brands, has rapidly warmed up all over the country, attracting tens of thousands of young people to participate. At the peak, there were 500 flag football communities in China to popularize flag football and organize events in various places.
The number of teams participating in organized amateur adult equipment leagues in China has increased from 8 in 2014 to nearly 80 in 2023. At most, there are more than ten football teams equipped in Shanghai.
There are more than ten national top-level college flag football teams active in amateur competitions of the Education Commission and the sports system in Shanghai all the year round. In recent years, with the implementation of the "double reduction" policy, the flag football has officially become the content of the public welfare distribution class of the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission to serve the schools in the city. There are countless non-governmental training institutions operating in the market. As early as 2018, data showed that more than 8,000 primary school students in Shanghai were trained in rugby courses at least once a week; In the Super Bowl every year, nearly 10 million China viewers watch the live broadcast of the event on TV and new media platforms, among which Shanghai fans account for the majority. In addition, Shanghai is also the most representative American football town-there are not only many clubs, but also a set of scientific management models, which regularly organize training and competitions.
The year-round folk games have become the core of revitalizing this football hotspot. In the past two years, Shanghai Sports Bureau has promoted rugby to the highest level of Shanghai amateur league-league events. The rugby amateur league, which is created by the Football Association, includes four categories: equipment, flag, English and touch. Only the flag football events are subdivided into: U6U8U10U12U14U16 college group, open men’s group, open mixed group, open women’s group, inter-school group, etc … Even during the epidemic period, more than 30,000 adults and teenagers participated in the games in Shanghai.
In recent years, the competition system and stage of Shanghai rugby have been further enhanced and enlarged. Shanghai sports management department brought rugby into the city amateur league, and the government set up a platform to promote and popularize rugby with high-quality resources. All kinds of rugby fans with different genders, different ages, different cultural backgrounds and different sports foundations participated in it. As the main body of the competition, the Shanghai Football Association has attracted the "assist" of the NFL, the top professional sports league, with its authoritative and professional style of running the competition, which can be said to be the joint efforts of many parties to jointly nurture the "soil".
Colleges and universities are the springboard, and competitions are the starting point.
There are less than five years before the Los Angeles Olympic Games. If Shanghai, as a major rugby town, is the axis, then the national colleges and universities are undoubtedly the most suitable platforms and springboard for the future national flag rugby team to excavate, cultivate and select talents.
It is understood that as early as 2008, the NFL began to organize university flag rugby league in Beishangguang, and nearly 40 universities including Tsinghua, Fudan and Guangzhou University participated at that time. Nowadays, flag football is still one of the most popular sports for college students. In Shanghai alone, at present, more than 10 colleges and universities have their own flag football teams, and most of them form teams by recruiting new students, training regularly and selecting the best-the flag football team of Shanghai Sport University, one of the teams participating in the day, was selected from the community in the school, which has more than 200 members in total, one fifth of whom are girls; University of Shanghai for Science and Technology is the earliest university in Shanghai to develop the flag football project. Its team has a complete training system: it is equipped with professional coaches, and the players train for about three hours three times a week, including physical fitness, tactics and other special trainings, as well as mock matches.
Tailor-made events for college students are one of the most effective ways to attract more students to "embrace" the flag football. According to reports, this "Yundong Yangpu Show Out" college league series invited eight college flag football teams from Shanghai to participate for the first time, namely Fudan University, Shanghai University of Science and Technology, Shanghai Electric Power University, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, East China University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai University of Engineering Science, Shanghai Universities of Applied Sciences and Shanghai Sport University. Members of these college flag football teams have a "big stage" to show themselves and their teams, compete on the field and communicate off the field, and everyone’s enthusiasm is naturally more and more sufficient. It is also more suitable for universities to support such an event: Shanghai Sport University, the venue of this event, has given strong support-the trophy of the event is called "Green Tile Bowl", which originated from the Green Tile Building in Shangti University. From 1956 to today, this building has witnessed the inheritance and competition of generations of upper body people. As the earliest sports institution of higher learning established in New China, Shanghai Sport University has a profound cultural heritage, and takes it as its mission to serve the sports power and rejuvenate the country through science and education. Holding the competition here will further promote the development of "integration of sports and education" in regional universities. The "Shanghai Olive Association" also hopes that the tradition of "Green Tile Bowl" can be established and continuously developed into a cross-regional event, which will affect the Yangtze River Delta region.
"Our vision is that,Make full use of Shanghai’s unique rugby soilTaking colleges and universities as a springboard, we selected talented and enthusiastic young players who trained together for a long time, participated in high-quality competitions, even went abroad for higher-level guidance, and learned from international excellent teams, and finally became a truly competitive elite team of flag football. "Ding Ye said.
For China flag football, which has been bred among the people for many years and has a certain foundation, now that it has a real goal, it’s time to speed it up!
Text: Yao Qinyi
Source: Shangguan News