China saw stunning string of victories

Updated: 2011-12-27 07:51

By Lei Lei (China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

New generation of athletes show promise of more to come in future

China saw stunning string of victories

Li Na of China raises the trophy after winning her women's final against Francesca Schiavone of Italy at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris on June 4. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING - In 2011, big names left deep footprints in China's sports world.

Tennis ace Li Na fulfilled the nation's Grand Slam dream when she won the French Open in June. It is the first major title for a Chinese women's tennis player.

Star hurdler Liu Xiang, who has been suffering from a serious foot injury for almost three years, announced his strong comeback to the world championship stage by claiming the silver medal in August.

Badminton player "Super Dan", Lin Dan, claimed an unparalleled fourth world championship title and completing the super "Grand Slam" after winning the final at the BWF World Superseries Finals in December.

While NBA all-star Yao Ming impressed his fans in another way - announcing his retirement because of injury and starting a new life in the university.

However, we cannot ignore the remarkable performances of the youngsters below. They are shouldering the hopes of China's sports in the future.



Sui Lu, 19, gymnastics

The 2011 World Gymnastics Championships in October in Tokyo marked a new beginning for Sui.

China saw stunning string of victories

Sui Lu, 19, gymnastics

The 19-year-old clinched her first world championship title on the balance beam and secured a silver medal in the floor exercise. She also helped the women's team to take home bronze.

Sui distinguished herself as early as in 2007 at the National Intercity Games, where she helped the Shanghai gymnastic team win gold after a 27-year drought.

But her inconsistent performances the following year cost her the opportunity to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Sui shined again at the Guangzhou Asian Games last year, where she bagged four gold medals - in the balance beam, floor exercise, women's all-round and team events.

The victory in Tokyo was an opportunity for her to gain confidence and push for a place at the London Olympics.

"This is my first world championship title. Previously, I had always disappointed people, but they never gave up on me. I am really grateful for their support," said Sui after the championships in Tokyo.

"There is still a long time before the London Olympic Games. I hope I can adjust my weight and psychology, and also avoid injury."

Despite Sui's modesty, Lu Shanzhen, the women's team coach, praised Sui for her leadership skills.

"Having Sui back on the right track is our biggest achievement at the world championships," Lu said. "She finished three events with a strong performance and proved herself the best gymnast on this Chinese team, especially when veterans like He Kexin and Jiang Yuyuan were in a slump."

"She finally solved the problems that have hovered around her for three years, and I believe she will have a bright future at the London Olympics."


Ye Shiwen, 15, swimming

Ye is one of the great hopes for the future of Chinese swimming, and the year 2011 saw her first appearance on the highest podium at the world championships.

China saw stunning string of victories

Ye Shiwen, 15, swimming

At the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai in July, Ye captured the crown of the 200m individual medley, beating a star-studded field, including defending champion and world-record holder Ariana Kukors of the US and Australia's Olympic champion Stephanie Rice.

Later, at the National Intercity Games, the 15-year-old pocketed five gold medals, including the 200m and 400m individual medley.

Ye has drawn attention since the Guangzhou Asian Games in November 2010. As the youngest Chinese athlete at the Guangzhou Asiad, Ye clinched the gold medal of women's 400m individual medley, beating teammate and Asian record holder Li Xuanxu.

Beginning swimming training at age 6, Ye, who was born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, stood out because of her outstanding physical condition.

"Ye was different from the others when I first saw her," said her first coach Wei Wei. "Her hands and feet were bigger than other children's of the same age, which is an advantage."


Sun Yujie, 19, fencing

China saw stunning string of victories

Sun Yujie, 19, fencing

Sun is only 19 years old but she has already established herself internationally. Sun surged to No 1 in the world rankings in women's saber after her impressive showing at the recently concluded world championships, where she took silver in individual and team events. She also won two gold medals at the National Intercity Games.

The 1.92-meter-tall fencer had a consistent year as she won bronze medals at the Spain and German World Cup meets.

At the year-end ranking in women's saber, Sun was No 1, edging out teammate and world champion Li Na.



Tian Yuan, 18, weightlifting

Tian's debut on the international stage ended in success this year.

China saw stunning string of victories

Tian Yuan, 18, weightlifting

Tian broke the world junior record for the clean and jerk in the women's 48kg category at the National Intercity Games in October.

Later, at the world championships in November, she claimed the gold medals in women's clean and jerk, snatch and total results in the 48kg category.

To the surprise of all, Tian used to be a sprinter at primary school, where she won the 100m and 200m titles. But she caught the eye of a weightlifting coach and turned to the sport in 2006.

Only two years later, Tian was crowned the national champion in women's 48kg and set the world junior record at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

Her next goal is the "gold medal at the London Olympics", as she said.


Other rising stars

China saw stunning string of victories