The First National Games of the People's Republic of China were held in the Chinese capital city of Beijing on September 13-October 3, 1959 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of New China.
The Games were aimed at reviewing the achievements made by the people in the past decade in the spirit of "Promoting physical culture and building up the people's health." During the competitions, the athletes vied with one another to greet the 10th National Day with their outstanding performances.
Present at the opening ceremony were state leaders Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Dong Biwu, Zhu De, Zhou Enlai, Lin Boqu, Peng Zhen, Luo Ronghua, Li Xiannian and Tan Zhenlin. It was an indication of the importance the Chinese Government attached to the Games.
A total of 10,600 athletes from all parts of the country competed in 36 events. In addition, there were 6 demonstration events. The results were very encouraging. Four world records were shattered by seven contestants in swimming, track and field, shooting and aeromodels, and 106 national records were chalked up by 664 athletes on 844 occasions. Among these, the national records in all the 20 men's and women's archery events were smashed, and the number of rowers who had set new records in all the eight rowing events totaled 298.
The Chinese military sports delegation competed in 28 events and participated in 3 demonstration events. It captured 20 team titles, topping the list in team standing.