- The good? Thrilling competition
- The bad? Drips of sweat
- The food? Wasn’t any…
- The size? 600 players
- The people? Students and scholars from China
- The item? Many shuttles flying around
‘For us, badminton is a proper sport that we train for’, says Zhao Meng, President of the ACSSG and an Economics student at the University. ‘We take it very seriously. Today we have arranged a tournament for Chinese doubles teams from all over Holland’, he adds proudly. ‘The team from Groningen is in the final.’
The matches are very competitive. Yells and screams accompany each game. Many spectators are watching the action intently. A badminton game on a Dutch camping site doesn’t bear comparison.
The association organizes more than just sports events, though. ‘We do many typically Chinese things’, says Meng, ‘such as table tennis and celebrations like the Spring Festival. However, we also organize trips to the Keukenhof and workshops for Dutch students, so that the Dutch and Chinese can mingle.’
Today 100 Chinese students from all over Holland are in Groningen for the tournament, but Groningen has a lot of Chinese students too. ‘About 600 of them’, says Meng as a rough estimate of how many Chinese students and scholars live in Groningen. There’s good reason for that, Meng thinks. ‘Dutch people are really nice and the city is beautiful. Also, there’s a great party scene here’, she says, laughing.
Ching Cheng, a member of the association and a volunteer at the badminton tournament, agrees: ‘I chose Groningen because it’s the perfect combination of studying and leisure. There’s no pressure within the ACSSG to attend all the events, which is great, since I really want to focus on my studies.’
While the announcer shouts through the microphone in Chinese, the disappointment on the faces of the Chinese students gives away that the badminton duo from Groningen didn’t win the final. However, judging by the cheering and the crowd’s happy nature, this didn’t spoil their fun.
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