Kung fu fighters aim for Olympic glory

Kung fu fighters aim for Olympic glory

Twirling spears, swords and clubs at frightening speeds, the brightly clad fighters performing flying kicks could be mistaken for extras in a kung fu movie. They are not actors, however, but athletes hoping not just to win gold at the World Wushu Championships but also to elevate the Chinese martial art — made famous by Jet Li and Jackie Chan — from an ancient warrior code to a modern-day Olympic sport.

Wushu, a broad term for the martial arts disciplines from China, is often called kung fu and pits fighters against one another in hand-to-hand combat or intricate acrobatics focusing on flair and weapon work. It has transformed from a centuries-old, exclusively Chinese combat discipline into a global sport.

Now wushu hopes to follow other martial arts, like Japan’s judo and Korea’s taekwondo, by becoming an Olympic sport. The International Wushu Federation’s efforts suffered a setback when wushu was dropped from a short list of sports being considered for the Tokyo 2020 Games, but the organization is confident of inclusion in 2024.  Agence France-Presse

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