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17:18 Nov 19 2009

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Beauties meet challenge in Sichuan Tibetan area
17:14, November 19, 2009  

Six professional, good-looking women in their 20s are whispering together while taking a dip in the swimming pool.(Source: China Daily)

This is not an episode of Sex and the City, rather it is the Australian team plotting together in a game called "treasure hunt in hot-spring", at the 2009 Meiyue Cup International Beauty Romantic Challenge, held in a mountainous area of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Povince, earlier this month.

There were eight teams in total, including the Aussies, Canadian, South Korean, British and four Chinese teams. The team from Shanghai won the eight-day challenge, during which it competed in 12 events, including weight-bearing mountaineering, primary forest trekking, mountain cycling, glacier crossing - all at the altitude of 3,000 m to 4,000 m.

The Aussie girls were 25-year-old lawyer Sandra Wu, who played soccer in high school and finished a 500 km bike ride within a week, eight months ago; while team member Isabel Cropley does a 40-minute bike ride to the office every day.

Office manager Mary Phan went on a grueling 14-day hike to Mount Qomolangma base camp three years ago; while Jenny Fung, who is actually Canadian, is a traveler and accidental Aussie. Marta Bogatek has been running, dancing and playing netball since she was young.

The team's "sports queen", however, is Marta's older sister Gosia, who plays in a women's soccer league every week and was New South Wales' former high school cross-country champion.

"I think I was born with a love for sports. My car does not fit in the garage because I have so much sports equipment in there," Gosia Bogatek says, after leading the Australian team to runner-up position.

"To be frank, the result was surprising since we didn't have much time to prepare at home and didn't come with high expectations," she adds.

While pushing the envelope physically in the challenges, there were also some events with a distinctively ethnic flavor, like "butter separation from milk", which the Aussie team won.

"Gosia and I went to the high school with the best agriculture course in Australia. We have dealt with many kinds of animals, but it was the first time we tried to extract butter from milk. It was incredible to win," Wu says.

She also won the "Beauty Award" at the closing ceremony.

"I think every girl in the swimming pool was hot. But sexy is not just about having a big chest or good make-up," says Wu, "It's more about confidence and sportsmanship."

In March, she finished a 500 km charity bike to raise funds for an orphanage in Siem Reap after "being a couch potato for several years".

Born in Australia to a Chinese family from Guangzhou, Wu teaches English to Chinese in Sydney, at a coaching college she founded.

The competition in Ganzi was her second trip to China and encouraged her to learn more about Chinese culture.

"This trip was a catalyst for reuniting my connection with my grandparents, parents and my Motherland. The more I come here, the more I realize it's only a small part of a big, big China," she says.

"I'm looking forward to coming back next year as the ambassador of the competition and contributing more to the health, well-being and happiness of my fellow Chinese brothers and sisters."

Source: China Daily

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