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Basketball unites two villages across continents

Pub Date:2024-03-11 17:34 Source:english.anhuinews.com

March 10, 2024, Sunday, Sunny

"Nice shot, a perfect air ball, and it was skillfully passed to the opposing player." On March 10th, the humorous and witty commentary by renowned sports commentator Han Qiaosheng brought laughter to the villagers watching the game.

A friendly basketball match between Chinese and foreign villages took place in Xixinancun (Xixi South Village), Huizhou District, Huangshan City. The participating teams were the Xixi South Village team and the Giethoorn Village team from the Netherlands, with each team having one female player.

Xixi South Village and Giethoorn Village are over 7,000 kilometers apart. How did these two villages come together through basketball?

On March 10th, the reporting team visited Xixi South Village to uncover the story.

Located on the southern foothills of Huangshan, along the Fengle River, Xixi South Village has a history of 1,200 years. It possesses unique cultural heritage such as water conservancy relics and garden architecture. Currently, it preserves over 100 buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties and has been awarded titles such as National Key Village for Rural Tourism, Chinese Traditional Village, and Beautiful and Livable Village in Anhui Province.

On April 21st of last year, Xixi South Town in Huangshan City signed a memorandum of friendly exchange and cooperation with Giethoorn Village in the Netherlands, becoming the first pair of international friendly villages in the province. According to the memorandum, the two sides will engage in various forms of exchanges and cooperation in areas such as tourism promotion, heritage conservation, and cultural exchange to promote common development.

After the signing, the interaction between the two villages became frequent. During Chinese traditional festivals such as Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, the village head of Giethoorn, Esselbrugge Gabriella, would send video greetings. On Western traditional holidays, Wu Zhiming, the secretary of the Xixi South Village Party Committee, would also send his blessings.

After nearly a year of online communication, the understanding between the two villages grew deeper, and the desire to meet in person became stronger.

With green mountains in the distance and the chirping of birds nearby, the emerging buds in the vast maple and poplar forests complement the flowing Fengle River. Spring is the most beautiful season in Xixi South Village, and the two villages chose basketball as a medium to meet in the spring.

"We have a tradition of playing basketball in the village. As early as the 1970s, we had a well-known basketball team called 'Hongjian' that was famous throughout the city," said villager Cheng Jianguo. Last year, the village built a new plastic cement basketball court, further igniting the villagers' enthusiasm for basketball. Every day, people of different ages can be seen playing on the court.

"Playing basketball in the ancient Xixi South Village, we felt the collision between history and modernity, between local and international, and found friendship and happiness," said Frank Habets, a player from the Giethoorn Village team.

After an intense game, the Xixi South Village team narrowly won by 2 points.

"This game, has brought us from acquaintance to understanding, from understanding to integration," said Wu Zhiming. The two sides have already agreed to set up experiential shops in each other's villages, promote their respective tourism resources, and showcase their unique agricultural products. From activities to business models and further into industry expansion, they will engage in comprehensive cooperation.

Source: anhuinews.com

Editor:Zheng Chen

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