ATHENS, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The 1st European Chin Woo Wushu Kung Fu Open Championship and Chinese Cultural Festival kicked off on Saturday in Athens, offering a taste of Chinese culture to local audiences.
During the opening ceremony, young practitioners and masters of Kung Fu from Canada, the Netherlands, Lebanon and some other countries displayed martial arts. Spectators were also introduced to Chinese calligraphy, the art of flower arrangement, the Chinese tea culture and music.
The two-day event brings together more than 580 athletes from nine countries, organizers told Xinhua.
The event was organized by the Greek Chin Woo Athletic Association and the China Culture Center in Athens under the auspices of the Region of Attica and Hellenic Wushu-Kung Fu Federation.
"Culture, sports, Greece, China together. The Region of Attica supports all this with all its strength," Giorgos Patoulis, governor of Attica Region, told Xinhua. "I have to say that this collaboration has a bright future."
"It is of great significance for people in Greece and in Europe to better understand Chinese culture," Ren Ren, director of China Culture Center in Athens, said on his part.
"Chinese culture also plays a certain role in deepening exchanges and friendship between the people of China and Greece," he added.
Christos Papachristos, president of the Hellenic Wushu-Kungfu Federation, also highlighted the cultural element of sports, in particular Kung Fu.
"There is an exchange of ideas, cultures and civilizations. And this is something that is exciting in the sport of Kung Fu, because beyond the athletic part, it strongly promotes culture," he said.
As Greece and China have come closer in recent years through deeper cooperation in many sectors, more and more Greeks show interest in learning Chinese martial arts, Spyros Karapanos, technical advisor of the Hellenic Wushu-Kungfu Federation, told Xinhua.
"The last ten years, the rise of Kung Fu in Greece is extraordinary. We believe that we will continue to promote Kung Fu," he said.