Generation Z takes center stage at China Youth Games


Updated: 2019-08-12


A view of the opening ceremony of the 2nd Youth Games of the People's Republic of China in Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi province, on Aug 8, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

TAIYUAN - The second edition of the China Youth Games will leave its mark on history as China's first "Gen Z Games," as all of the athletes taking part were born after the turn of the new millennium.

The second China Youth Games kicked off in the capital city of Northwest China's Shanxi Province on Thursday.

According to regulations, only those born after the year 2000 are eligible to participate in the event. The post 2000s generation is categorized by demographers as "Generation Z."

The Youth Games, which runs until August 18, has attracted around 58,000 athletes from 34 delegations across the country competing in 1,868 events of 49 sports. China's Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao also sent athletes to the event.

It is a memorable occasion for 12-year-old Zhou Bingling, a footballer with Shanxi's Under-13 girl's football team, to take part in national-level Games for the first time.

"It was nerve-racking but thrilling for me to play football on such a high level," said Zhou after her team won the championship of her age group.

"[I'm] surprised in a good way. I will be much composed now that I have won the championship in the future, no matter who I play against," she added.

Zhou has played football only for two years, but she has big dreams. "Messi is my idol. I want to play for China in the women's World Cup one day," she added.

Qiu Zizhao, 17, plays as a center for the Under-18 basketball team of Jinan Sports School of Shandong Province. At the opening ceremony of the Games, Qiu served as flag bearer for Shandong.

"I am proud to be the flag bearer as our generation -- Generation Z, emerges in the spotlight," Qiu said.

Generation Z grew up in an environment marked by the Internet, so high-tech appliances are common at the Games. For example, athletes in the dragon boat race can save check-in time with a face-recognition device in use.

5G technology was adopted for the first time in airing a major sports event in China. A total of 489 5G stations were set up to ensure a seamless broadcasting service, said Liu Jiabao with the organizing committee of the Youth Games.