China’s basketball icon Yao Ming warned the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) that the country is not sitting on a very strong reserve of strong athletic talent, CGTN.com reported.
Yao, who made his proposals for basketball talent development at the on-going Two Sessions in Beijing, said the national team recruits all of their players from the 350 registered Chinese players in the CBA.
The CBA saw 60% of its domestic players contributed by six provinces: Liaoning, Shandong, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Hebei and Jiangsu, CGTN.com reported.
Some 55% of the league’s Chinese players come from youth development systems of eight teams and only 22 are from non-professional teams.
Therefore, expanding basketball youth development channels is a top priority for China’s sports development, CGTN.com reported.
Yao also warned against a possible break in the supply of athlete talents. It usually takes 8-10 years to train a professional athlete. A top one requires more delicate refining over an even longer time.
Currently, China’s athlete development system is going through a critical period of reform, which further calls for attention to be paid to talent reserves. Things could worsen if the existing system is left unattended before the new system is established, Yao said.
The former Houston Rockets NBA star proposed that a clear talent development and transmitting system be built at schools and professional clubs and in specialized teams and social institutions so whoever raises the athletes will also benefit from it, CGTN.com reported.
Meanwhile, ways should be paved for professional athletes to receive higher education, the report said.
Yao also emphasized the merging of education and sports participation. “Education without sports is incomplete, just like sports participation without education isn’t solid,” said Yao, adding that character-building is just as important as body-building, CGTN.com reported.
Yao proposed that both sports school students and professional athletes at eligible age be covered by compulsory education to help sport athletes improve their qualities in other areas.
Meanwhile, Yao said the payment and benefits of sports school teachers should also be raised, CGTN.com reported.