Olympic legend Liddell honoured in new museum

OLYMPIC great Eric Liddell is to be honoured in a 
Chinese museum.

The legendary athlete, who inspired the movie Chariots of Fire, taught and preached in China, and died in Japanese internment in the city of Weifang during the Second World War, aged 43.

Liddell, a devout Christian, famously decided not to run in the 100 metres at the 1924 Paris Olympics because the heats were to be held on a Sunday. Instead, he took part in the 400 metres and won gold.

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The internment camp is now a school, but a small museum and a memorial stone in Isle of Mull granite tell – in Chinese and English – Liddell’s story, near where he was buried in the grounds.

Now the city is planning a much larger museum, with a room dedicated to the Scot. The building where he died is to be converted into the new museum, with a reconstruction of Liddell’s prison room and a waxwork of him inside.

Zhao Guixia, headmistress at the school, said every new child was taught about Liddell’s achievements on and off the track. She said: “This part of history is a great treasure for all our school. We can see the great value of humanity, especially in Eric Liddell’s stories.”

Liddell was born in China to Scottish missionary parents in 1902. Aged five, he was sent to school in England, where he developed his love of sport.

He attended Edinburgh University and starred for Scotland at rugby, but it was his exploits in Paris that made him a national hero.