As a key activity of the 2022 "Cultural Journey to the Origin of Football", the China-Qatar Youth Cuju Exchange Experience was held on the 26th of November 2022, at the Doha College in Qatar, along with the China-Qatar Youth Friendly Match. The event was co-organized by the Department of Culture and Tourism of Shandong Province of China, the Network of International Culturalink Entities and Zibo Municipal People's Government, with special support from Mengniu Group.
During the time of the Spring and Autumn of Warring States periods in China, Linzi, the ancient capital of Qi, is where Cuju was first recognized by the public. More than 2,000 years have passed since it was first played. On the sidelines of the Fifa World Cup event in Qatar, Cuju has once again become a vehicle of cultural interchange, serving as a vivid emblem of the cultural cross-fertilization that has occurred over the course of human history. It fostered connections between Chinese and Qatari football players and gave the latter the opportunity to learn about the allure of traditional Chinese football culture while immersed in the exhilarating environment of the World Cup.
During his statement, the Chinese Ambassador to Qatar, Jian Zhou, stated that Cuju is both a spiritual indicator and a cultural quintessence of Chinese civilization. “I have high hopes that this exhibition and exchange will provide a chance for more people in Qatar to have an understanding of and respect for Chinese culture, which will in turn promote cultural exchange and mutual appreciation between China and Qatar."
Weipeng Li, a representative of the seventh generation of the Chinese Cuju squad hailing from Linzi, Shandong province, was present to put up a Cuju performance with showing skills. After that, the Chinese and Qatari young players donned traditional Chinese Cuju garb and practiced and experienced traditional Cuju together to have a better understanding of the parallels and contrasts between Cuju and contemporary football.
This was what the young athlete from Qatar had to say: "Cuju and football are both the same and also quite distinct from one another. Having the opportunity to have traditional Chinese Cuju for the first time during the World Cup was an incredible and unforgettable experience. In the not-too-distant future, I want to make it to Shandong, China, the birthplace of both Cuju and Confucius. I am quite excited about this amazing trip ".