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Young Chinese craftsman wins WorldSkills competition

By YE ZIZHEN| chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: November 3, 2022 L M S


Ma Hongda won championship of the plaster and drywall systems competition of WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition in Bordeaux, France, in October. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Ma Hongda, a 22-year-old student, became the first Chinese person to win the plastering and drywall systems event in the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition, which concluded recently in Bordeaux, France.

Born in 2000 in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, Ma started learning construction and decoration at Zhejiang Construction Technician College in Hangzhou when he was 16.

"My father is a construction worker, and we both think it is a good idea to master a skill. That's why I chose this major," Ma said.

"In 2017, I applied to be a member of the college's special training team for WorldSkills competitions. More than 200 students applied, and only about 30 passed and stayed for the training after two rounds of fierce competition."

Ma showed his talent for the competition that year.

"He works wholeheartedly for a goal once it is set," said Xu Zhen, the primary coach for plastering and drywall system training at the college. "He is not only diligent but can also think and work flexibly and creatively during training. This is quintessential."

Xu thinks it's great that Ma thinks independently and discusses his own ideas with coaches, which is crucial to problem-solving.


Ma Hongda with his product. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

In Bordeaux, the four-day competition had five sections. In these sections, competitors were required to calculate the materials they would use based on drawings provided and make the basic structure of their project. The error range of the actual project should be less than 1 millimeter.

Competitors also need to install the soundproofing insulation into the walls, plastering and finishing a freestyle creative decoration.

For Ma, a light steel keel, drill, angle ruler and plasterboards are all his good "friends" after five years' of training.


Ma Hongda works on his project during the plaster and drywall systems competition in the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition in Bordeaux, France, in October. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Although he is familiar with each phase of the craft, there were unexpected situations. For instance, the size of the plasterboard provided by the organizer was different from what is commonly seen in China. Also, because of the humidity, birds he made as decorations fell from the wall and broke.

Ma used glue to make it complete again and finished the creative molding section just in time.

He painted the wall blue, drew an Eiffel Tower in red and placed a large feather and several birds in white, reflecting the colors of the French national flag.

In Chinese social media, the video of Ma plastering has been is widely shared and discussed. His win with an outstanding skill inspired many.

Ma said he will become a teacher at the college and pass his knowledge and skills to future students.

The WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition will run until late November in different places include Lahr, Germany, and Bolzano, Italy.