Wu Chengzhang, 88-year old Olympian from 1948 London Games, makes return trip to London courtesy of British Airways, British Consulate-General Shanghai and VisitBritain
As China men’s national basketball team makes preparations ahead of the London Games – including a highly-anticipated matchup against the host country on August 6, 2012 – they will be cheered on by a special fan who made the very same journey to London 64 years ago.
British Airways, the British Consulate-General Shanghai and VisitBritain have partnered to bring 88-year old Mr Wu Chengzhang, a member of the China basketball team who participated in the 14th Olympic Games in London in 1948, back to the city to watch China take on the United Kingdom in basketball. Wu departs Shanghai for London Heathrow today (August 3, 2012) courtesy of British Airways.
“It is an honour for British Airways to be able to support this trip,” said Noella Ferns, British Airways Deputy General Manager, Greater China and the Philippines. “The spirit of the Olympics is to encourage friendship and cultural interaction amongst all nations, and facilitating the exchange of ideas and cultures is what we’ve been doing since we started flying to China in 1980, and for almost a century overall.”
“That basketball is one of the most popular sports in China today is thanks in no small part to the contributions made by Mr Wu and other Olympians of his time, who have paved the way for today’s generation of athletes,” said Matthew Forbes, Deputy Consul-General, British Consulate-General Shanghai. “Bringing Mr Wu to London for the match will certainly bring another exciting dimension to what is already going to be a highly-changed game.” “I believe that this story of great determination to return to London is a great development for London 2012, also adding to the strength in cultural ties between the United Kingdom and China”.
“Mr Wu expressed his wish to return to London for the 2012 Games a couple of years ago, therefore we are most pleased to join forces with British Airways and the British Consulate-General Shanghai to help him fulfill his dream,” says Travis Qian, VisitBritain Country Manager, China and Hong Kong, “We wish Wu’s revisit will bring him the sense of Britain’s diversity and the combination of modern and tradition. We hope his experiences from both his 1948 and 2012 visits will encourage more and more Chinese travellers to visit Britain.”
The 1.76 metre tall Wu was one of the 33 athletes from China that participated in the 1948 London Games to compete in basketball, soccer, track and field, swimming and biking. The then 24-year old Wu scored 32 points in one of the games. After the 1948 London Olympics, Wu played and coached basketball in his hometown Shanghai until his retirement.
Source = British Airways