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Top 5 Sports Stars Courted by China’s Best Universities

Chinese sports stars, with their brilliant achievements and natural athletic talent, can pursue further studies at China’s most prestigious colleges without taking the ‘Gaokao’, or the National College Entrance Examination.

Some athletes study rigorously and graduate with top honors from university, while some have found it hard to pass various examinations required during tertiary education. Even more have had to quit college for failing to complete their curriculums even after six or more years of study.

Athletes attending college without taking the ‘Gaokao’ have triggered a heated debate across the country. Some netizens say it’s one way for Chinese universities to spot talented students, while some believe it’s an unfair advantage.
The following are ten of the most popular sports stars favored by China’s most renowned universities:
Dai Feifei, Peking University 戴菲菲,北京大学

Dai Feifei

Dubbed the most beautiful girl in Chinese sports, 27-year old Dai Feifei is now teaching at Peking University, where she received dual degrees after studying at the College of Journalism and Communications and the School of Arts. She’s also an actress and model. She won two gold medals with her team in rhythmic gymnastics at the 21st World Universiade held in Beijing in 2011, and the gold in rhythmic gymnastics at the 9th National Games in Guangdong, 2001.
Liu Xiang, East China Normal University 刘翔,华东师范大学

Liu Xiang
110-meter hurdler Liu Xiang, the first Chinese athlete to achieve the “triple crown” of athletics: World Record Holder, World Champion and Olympic Champion, enrolled at East China Normal University in 2005 for a 5-year integrated master’s and doctoral degree program in Sports Administration. Liu also graduated from the College of Law and Politics with a bachelor’s degree. The 29-year-old “Flying Man” has a tutoring team of ten professors to ensure he can make the grades required for graduation.

Liu Xuan, Peking University 刘璇,北京大学

Liu Xuan
33-year-old Liu Xuan, China’s first Olympic Champion on balance beam and first All-Around Medalist pursued further study at the School of Journalism and Communication at Peking University between 2001 and 2005. Liu, known as the “Gymnast Queen”, leads a fruitful life after retirement. She is now an actress and hostess for TVB, the first wireless commercial television station in Hong Kong.

Yao Ming, Shanghai Jiao Tong University 姚明,上海交大

Yao Ming
Yao Ming, considered by many as the best-known and most popular Chinese athlete in the world, is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who played center for the Houston Rockets in the NBA from 2002 to 2011. After his retirement in July 2011, the eight-time all-Star was recruited at the Antai College of Economics & Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University as a full-time student in November 2011. Yao, who now operates two companies, is also boss of his former Chinees basketball team the Shanghai Sharks. In fact, Yao registered at the university in 2001, but stayed on campus only for one year, as he was too busy at that time.

Guo Jingjing, Renmin University 郭晶晶,人民大学

Guo Jingjing
Chinese diving queen Guo Jingjing, who won gold medals for diving at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, began her study at Renmin University as an International Masters in Business Administration student in 2009. In fact, Guo, who announced her retirement in early 2011, was enrolled by the College of Humanities at the university in 2002, together with nine other sports stars, including Wu Minxia, Li Na and Sang Xue. But nobody knows whether she was able to graduate. Guo’s relations with Kenneth Fok, the grandson of the late Hong Kong’s tycoon Henry Fok, provided another juicy story for her fans. 31-year-old Guo will marry Kenneth in November, 2012.