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Chinese volunteers enjoy, contribute to World Cup in Russia    

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- With Chinese brands having caught the eye at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a number of Chinese volunteers are also making their contribution to football’s showpiece event in Russia, and are managing to enjoy it at the same time.

24-year-old Wang Hui is a “veteran” volunteer who also helped at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and she is the only volunteer from the Chinese mainland stationed in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod.

Having backpacked through 40 different countries, Wang is now enjoying the opportunity to help out at the World Cup in Russia, both as a football fan, and as a lover of cross-cultural experiences.

“The greatest feeling that the World Cup has given me is that no matter your age, your career or where you come from, football is a common language. This is a good opportunity to communicate with people from all over the world,” Wang said.

The Chinese national said she fell in love with football in 2002, and later became a fan of Italian outfit Inter Milan. It was because of her appreciation of the Serie A team that she decided to apply to university in Italy.

She had expected to watch the Italian national team at the World Cup this year, but the Azzurri failed to reach the tournament, so Wang turned her affections to Croatia instead, as Luka Modric - who is fondly nicknamed “Magic Flute” in China, thanks to the pronunciation of his name - is also one of her favorites.

Just like Wang, 27-year-old Yu Xinjun also fell in love with football in 2002, as it was the first and so far only time that China qualified for the World Cup.

“I have followed every World Cup since then, and after that tournament I started to read sports newspapers and support football stars,” Yu told Xinhua.

Currently a graduate student of journalism at Moscow State University, Yu helps as a volunteer at Fan Fest at Sparrow Hills in Moscow.

“As a World Cup volunteer, you will meet a large number of fans every day. Their enthusiasm infects the entire city of Moscow and even the whole of Russia,” he said.

Yu is also proud of the contribution that Chinese brands have made to the World Cup. “When I entered the sports venue, I could see a Chinese-made TV screen on the grass and Chinese brands appearing on the huge screen. I feel proud that Chinese brands are being represented here.”

He hopes that the Chinese national football team will also appear in the World Cup again one day.

“As a Chinese fan, everyone has a high expectation for the national football team. It is like a seed deeply rooted in our hearts. I hope that one day this seed will eventually break ground and become a towering tree,” he said.

According to FIFA, a total of 17,040 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) volunteers helped at the 2018 World Cup, having been selected from a record 176,870 applicants.

Of the volunteers, 93 percent come from Russia, and the remaining seven percent are volunteers from 112 different countries and regions that traveled to Russia specifically for the tournament.

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