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BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Retired Chinese sports icons Yao Ming and Liu Xiang said on Tuesday that the function of competitive sports in China need to be redefined, and its foundations made more solid.
The remarks were made at the ongoing session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top advisory body.
"Competitive sports can provide great content for social and cultural life. Keeping up with a changing society, the function of competitive sports ought to be redefined. We should think about new approaches to operations, management and supervision," said Yao.
Continuing on in the same vein as Yao, former Olympic 110m hurdles champion Liu Xiang underlined the role of developing talent as the foundation for competitive sports.
"A sport rookie needs at least 5 or 6 years to grow. The talent pool is the foundation of competitive sports; it should receive more attention in China," Liu said, adding that "basic work requires implementation."
Yao, formerly of the NBA's Houston Rockets, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, and was recently elected president of the Chinese Basketball Association.