*The upcoming World University Games is expected to inject more vitality into Chengdu, one of the most vibrant megacities in China.
*Chengdu, which is known for giant pandas and delicacies, has become a top destination among an increasing number of fresh graduates seeking jobs, thanks to career prospects as well as the city's healthy lifestyle.
*FISU acting president anticipates that participants from around the world will encounter a unique experience in Chengdu.
By Wang Ding, Zhou Xiangji and Lu Youyi
CHENGDU, July 23 (Xinhua) -- In five days, the 31st edition of the FISU World University Games will open in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. The biennial event for the world's elite student athletes fits in well with the city, which is dubbed a "Youthful City".
The number of residents aged between 14 and 45 in Chengdu exceeds 9.6 million, accounting for over 45 percent of the city's population, making it one of the most vibrant cities in China. The upcoming Universiade is expected to inject more vitality into this historical city.
Zhang Siyu (R) works at a volunteer service station in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, July 22, 2023. (Xinhua)
YOUTHFUL AND VIBRANT CITY
On a hustling and bustling street in Chengdu, 28-year-old Zhang Siyu works as a transportation volunteer for the Universiade offering assistance for tourists.
In 2017, a song titled "Chengdu" became a national hit in China. In the same year, Zhang was admitted to the graduate program in Computer Science at Sichuan University. After graduation, he decided to settle down in the city.
Like Zhang, an increasing number of fresh graduates seeking jobs has chosen Chengdu as a top destination, not only because of career prospects, but also because of the city's healthy life and work balance.
Chengdu boasts the largest number of teahouses in China. Dotted throughout the city, they provide a lot more than just tea. They are used as a place to relax and engage in social activities.
"I really enjoy the teahouses," said 37-year-old Chen Si, the founder of a technology start-up Beidou Zhixun. "The fast-paced work can be well balanced with a good quality of life."
Boys attend a football training session at Chengdu CDT Sports Park in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, July 21, 2023. (Xinhua/Yang Jin)
Along with the growth of the young population comes greater enthusiasm for sports.
Wang Dongguo, Operations Manager of Chengdu CDT Sports Park, said that their courts and pitches are always booked.
"Our sports facilities are in high demand, with the football league matches taking place every day. Trendy sports events usually unfold over the weekends, as everyone revels in the solace of sports," Wang said.
AN INTERNATIONAL VISION
Chengdu isn't a stranger to staging international sporting events. This mega-city of over 20 million people played host to the World Police and Fire Games in 2019 and World Team Table Tennis Championships in 2022. It will also host the World Games in 2025.
With over 10,000 student athletes and officials from home and abroad set to descend in coming days, Chengdu is expected to captivate the world's youth with its diverse cultures.
Tourists wearing panda hairbands take photos at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, March 22, 2023. (Xinhua/Xu Bingjie)
"Athletes participating in the 31st World University Summer Games will encounter a unique experience in Chengdu," said Reynold Aid, the Acting President of the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
"It is not only a sporting competition but an opportunity to immerse in Chengdu's educational and research activities and savor the city's captivating culture."
That sentiment was shared by Oliver Jones, a Briton who met his Chinese wife while they were studying in Australia. Six years ago, Jones accompanied her back to her hometown Chengdu and then they got married.
Jones now serves as a foreign volunteer at the Tongzilin International Community Center, where he is in charge of creating social media content.