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African athletes return home with sophisticated acrobatics skills

Peter and Anna walk with a boy at Wuqiao Acrobatics Art School in Hebei province. [Photo/hebnews.com]

Two Sierra Leoneans will build their country’s first public acrobatics school after a year studying the performance art in China.

Peter, 38, and Anna, 45, returned to Sierra Leone after a year’s study at Wuqiao Acrobatics Art School in Hebei province.

They came to Wuqiao in July 2016 and returned home last month, after mastering the basic gestures of acrobatics.

They were sent to China by the Sierra Leone Sports Ministry to learn acrobatic skills so they could then as to teach them in their home country.

In the past year, as overseas students from Africa, they learnt acrobatics from 8 am to 5 pm.

“Everyone has a hobby,” said Anna. “I like sports just like those who like smoking and drinking. In Africa, acrobatics is a novelty but it is also a kind of sport. Sports are absolutely necessary in my life.”

Anna is a professional athlete and was once the team leader of the Sierra Leone national football team.

“I was in Wuqiao in Hebei when the Rio Olympic Games took place, and what impressed me most was the Chinese women’s volleyball team,” she said. “I liked Zhu Ting in that team. She in my Chinese icon.”

Just like Anna, Peter is also an athlete and every morning he goes running. “I love sports, so I came to Wuqiao to learn acrobatics,” he said.

Anna first saw acrobatics on TV when she was young. “I was astonished at their sophisticated skills,” she said. “When I heard that the government recruits people to learn acrobatics in China, I immediately applied.”

Anna was so excited about coming to China that she couldn’t sleep the night before her flight. “Wuqiao is a small city,” she said. “It is quiet and clean, and I like the environment here.”

“People here are all warmhearted, especially our teachers. They can always help us when we need it. The teachers are all patient and professional, and although we have language barriers, we can understand each other through gestures.”

The main task for them in China was to learn acrobatics skills so that they could teach them to students back in Sierra Leone.

A large group of suitable students had been chosen, and after Anna and Peter returned home the 10 best students were selected to start learning acrobatics.

“We will found the first acrobatics school in Sierra Leone, and I will be the first male acrobatics coach and Anna will be the first female coach,” Peter said proudly.

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