by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, May 24 (Xinhua) -- In the Cuban province of Ciego de Avila, located some 430 km east of the country's capital of Havana, nearly 500 people are now enrolled in the local Wushu school.
The practice of Chinese martial arts continues to gain ground in Cuba amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the local Wushu learners is Emily Cabezas, who started practicing Wushu four years ago and now expects to continue to hone her skills to participate in Chinese martial arts contests at the local level.
"It is like discovering a whole new world," she told Xinhua. "The Chinese culture is very attractive. I would like to visit China in the future."
At present, over 100 children and adolescents from Ciego de Avila attend the local Wushu school from Monday through Friday.
Cabezas' classmate Alexander Cabrera said that Chinese martial arts have become his greatest passion in life.
"This is like a huge challenge to me," he said. "Wushu techniques and moves are spectacular, including jumps and acrobatics."
Situated in the facilities of the Min Chih Tang Association in Ciego de Avila, the school has seen the highest enrollment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Founded in 2008, the school has a dedicated team of instructors who began their martial arts training more than a decade ago.
Senior instructor Frank Jose Suarez told Xinhua that the Wushu program has had a significant impact on improving the health conditions of different age groups ranging from children to senior citizens.
The 23-year-old spends his free time at the school after finishing his work as an informatics technician in a city's health facility.
"Looking into the future, we would like to expand the Wushu practice province-wide," he said. "Chinese martial arts instructors are in high demand."
Meanwhile, school President Luis Alberto Cespedes said that the Wushu practice has significantly extended outside Havana over the past few years.
"We are very satisfied with the results of the school but want to go one step further," he said. "It has been very positive. Wushu is here to stay."