Zhang Boling and Min Yuan
Source: Daily News 12 October Page B11 Press Time: 2014-10-13 11:34
Zhang Boling flew from Chongqing to Beijing with his wife in 1950 and lived in the house of Fu Zuoyi. After returning to Tianjin, he lodged in Lu Kaiyuan’s house in Changde Road, from which he moved to 87 Dali Road (currently 39) to live with his third son Zhang Xizuo two weeks later. This three-story British style townhouse was located southwest off Minyuan Stadium, with a spacey courtyard. Nankai alumni often dropped by, and he would invite some of them to a party on Fridays. Enjoying all kinds of traditional Chinese operas, he told his family that life would be smoother after the solid establishment of Nankai schools. Zhang Boling got a sudden palsy on February 14th evening, 1951, and passed away at the age of 75, nine days later. The only things he left for his family were just over 7 yuan and two overdue opera tickets. Prime Minister Zhou Enlai came to pay respects in Tianjin on the second day after his death, and the wreath he brought bears the sentence: “Boling is the best guide ever, from student Zhou Enlai.”
As the pioneer of Chinese Olympics, Zhang Boling should be remembered forever. On the fifth Tianjin school sports games on October 24th, 1907, he delivered a speech that China should take part in Olympic sports. As an educationalist, he advocated the equal development of morality, knowledge and sports, the priority of sports in the national development, and he played an important part in promoting athlete Liu Changchun’s participation in the Los Angeles Olympic Games, building the connection with the IOC and establishing the China National Sports Promotion Council. He inspected the education conditions and sports facilities in America in 1908 and 1917, and founded Nankai University after returning, which opened in 1919, with sufficient sports equipment.
Zhang Boling and Eric Henry Liddell were both celebrities in modern Tianjin education. Liddell came back to Tianjin in 1925 after winning the Olympic gold medal and became a teacher at Tientsin Anglo－Chinese College, as well as a part-time PE teacher at Nankai schools. Zhang Boling, familiar with Liddell, once invited him to teach track and field lessons at Nankai University sports ground. Zhang Jiwu, director of the Nankai school sports department, graduated from Zhili Higher College and obtained a master degree in sports in America, and taught sports in Nankai from 1915 to 1937. It was also him who invited the Minyuan running competition among rivals Liddell and Ferscha to guide Nankai schools’ sports activities.
It was also a coincidence that Liddell lived near to Zhang Boling, on Jianqiao Road (northeast off Minyuan Stadium), but Liddell lived there from the 1920s to 1930s, while Zhang Boling spent his life there in the early 1950s.