December 15, 2020
"Baseball changed my personality, teaching me discipline and how to live life. Without it, I would have probably become a hooligan," says Sun.
SUN Lingfeng, the captain of the China National Baseball Team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has launched a programme named Angels of Baseball Power to help children from poverty-stricken areas across China.
Sun started recruiting children aged between seven and nine for his Baseball Camp in Tongzhou, a district east of Beijing.
The recruits are not selected on their baseball talent. They all come from families that couldn't afford to educate these kids.
Sun introduces the children to baseball and guarantees them an education until they are 18.
The programme started in 2015. The initial costs were covered personally by Sun and a number of his friends.
"I grew up in a family that was not very wealthy, and I was a very disobedient child," Sun told the China Daily Asia.
"Baseball changed my personality, teaching me discipline and how to live life. Without it, I would have probably become a hooligan." -- SUN Lingfeng.
The initiative didn't have a lot of visibility in the beginning. Things changed when director XU Huijing made a documentary out of the story. Tough Out premiered in July at the FIRST International Film Festival in Xining, Qinghai province.
A total of 60 children are now training at a resort donated by an entrepreneur. More philanthropists and companies have guaranteed support to the programme.
Born 1978, Sun was a left-handed outfielder who starred for the Beijing Tigers of the China Baseball League.