Lou Dapeng: Development of Chinese Athletics 10-28-2004 16:42

Our guest was an athlete but an injury sustained during training prematurely terminated his career. He had to give up his competition dreams but he did not give up his love for athletics, nor did he give up his Olympics Dream. He continued to devote his life to sports and now after 40 years of hard work, he is a worldwide authority in athletics. He is Lou Dapeng.

Many years ago when Beijing bid for hosting the Olympics for the first time, he was Sports Director of Beijing Bid Committee. The final result made him so upset and not willing to recall it. Many years later, he took part in the bid again with the same status and then experienced the moment of winning the bid. He said, 鈥淚 will remember it for my life.鈥

He is Lou Dapeng, vice president of International Association of Athletics Federations, contributing to winning the right to host the 2008 Olympiad.

Lou Dapeng has worked for athletics for over 40 years, witnessing the development of Chinese athletics. Now he is the authority on athletics at home and abroad. Not long before a new chapter in Chinese athletics was opened by Liu Xiang and Xing Huina at the Athens Olympics.

IAAF Vice President Dapeng Lou describes his life in athletics and explains the strategy behind the formation of the new IAAF Competition Commission

Dapeng Lou was elected IAAF Vice-President at the 1999 IAAF Congress in Seville. He was first elected to Council in 1984

How did you get involved in athletics?

As a boy, I lived in Wembley (a suburb of London) very close to the Stadium and during the hot summer of 1948, I was a keen spectator at the Olympic Games that took place there, particularly of the athletic events. As a consequence, I took part in the athletics and other sports activities at my boarding school, and took part in London and Middlesex school athletic competitions. When I returned to Beijing in 1953, I continued to compete.

Were/are you an active sportsman?

Yes, I competed for my college and the Beijing City Track Team for many years from 1955 onwards, until an Achilles tendon problem forced me to stop.

Have you been involved in sport in a different way - as a coach or an official for example?

After injury brought an abrupt end to my career, I still loved the sport and turned to coaching. I was my college team coach for six years and then became involved in the work of the Beijing Athletic Association in 1962, as an official and coach.

What do you personally gain from athletics?

I love the sport and in the course of training and competition, I had many satisfying achievements in the fight against nature and against yourself. Also, as a coach working with youngsters I had the joy of seeing them progress.

How does your attitude to athletics influence your career?

Greatly. I graduated from the Engineering Department of the College, but my hobby of athletics got the better of me, so I took further courses in Physical Education and devoted my whole life to sport and athletics, firstly as a coach and later as a sport administrator (since 1966).

Your whole career is centred on sport, do you intend for this to continue?

Yes, I have passed retirement age, so I have fewer duties in other fields and shall concentrate more on my work with the IAAF.

What are your hobbies and interests?

My hobbies are athletics and reading, especially historical and international subjects.

You have two children - do you encourage them to practise sport?

I did encourage my children to practise sport and both of them took part, in their spare time, in school sport activities near our home. My son represented his university in sprints and triple jump in the Beijing area.

How important is athletics within the Asian sports' scene? What are the prospects for the future?

Athletics is the main component of the school physical education system in our area and it is also the main event at the Asian Games. However, athletics, generally speaking, is not as popular as football, basketball or volleyball, or as table tennis, badminton and judo in some countries.

In Asia, we have a tradition and high standards in sports like table tennis, badminton, gymnastics, weightlifting, judo, diving, volleyball and shooting etc. Nevertheless, Asians have excelled in certain events of athletics, such as long distance running, race walking and, during a certain period, jumping events. I believe that with the development of grass root level athletics and the fostering of an athletics culture among the population, athletics will become more popular and standards will improve thanks to the dedication of athletes and coaches and with the passing of time.

What do you see is the way forward for international athletics?

I believe we need to further develop and make athletics popular and attractive for our youngsters as they are the future of our sport. We also need to make our competitions more attractive as a classical sport and as an entertainment sport so as to remain competitive.

What are the priorities of the IAAF Competition Commission?

In our first meeting, most of the Commission members felt that the principal aim would be to build a sound structure for our competitions. On one hand, to improve the quality of existing World Athletic Series (WAS) events and create a close link with regional and area competitions. Secondly, we need to promote the one-day meetings, so as to provide many different levels of competitions for different levels of athletes.

Why do you think the IAAF needs a Competition Commission?

The IAAF is the governing body for world-wide athletics activities, and the competition programme is the core of athletics. Therefore, it is natural that more attention should be focused on the study of our competition system and programme. The formation of this Commission, composed of experienced people involved for decades in different aspects of international competition could assist the IAAF Council with ideas and proposals that will improve our competitions.

Were you happy with the first meeting of the Competition Commission?

Yes, I was very happy with our first meeting. All the members were eager to contribute with their experiences and ideas and we shall first study, taking into consideration some priorities, and then propose to Council, ways to promote our competition programme, step by step.


About Us . Get the Channel? . Contact Us Xinhua . People's Daily . China Daily . CRI . . cycnet . eastday .
Copyright © 2005 China Central Television, All Rights Reserved