Chinese athletics couple show the spirit of disabled athletes

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Chinese athlete Liu Cuiqing and his guide Xu Donling at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Photo: CGV

“Sport gave us new life,” said Miao Mingan, a deaf Chinese track and field athlete, speaking about himself and his wife Yang Lei, another deaf track and field athlete who has won more than 30 championships. in this sport.

During their more than 20-year career, the couple from Yangzhou, in east China’s Jiangzu province, have had many high points.

Miao has won 59 gold medals, while his wife has won 34 gold medals, at various national and international events, including the 21st Deaflympics in 2009.

In addition to winning the 4×100 relay gold medal at the Deaflympics in 2009, Miao also won CCTV Sports Personality of the Year in the same year, often referred to as “the Oscars” of the sports world.

Yang also won three medals at the Chinese National Athletics Tournament for Disabled Athletes, including two championships in 2004.

Both had atypical life paths before taking first place on the podium.

Miao lost his hearing at the age of 3, but his talent for running was then discovered by a gym teacher at the age of 12.

This path eventually led him to join the Jiangsu Provincial Sports Team at the age of 16.

He eventually became a member of the Chinese national athletics team.

Yang, who was born in 1980, was also a member of the Chinese women’s track and field team.

Over the years, the two have constantly encouraged each other to keep working and training hard to become successful athletes.

Their love story grew out of this mutual support when Yang helped Miao communicate with foreign athletes using international sign language when they were both competing in the 2005 Deaflympics.

Miao told the media that although he was unable to win any medals at the event, he still received the best gift of his life in the form of Yang.

Their love gave her the motivation to strike gold for her family in 2009, the same year they had their baby girl.

Although the two are both retired now, they still maintain their “never give up” attitude in their day-to-day lives.

Speaking to the media, they said they were very proud as Chinese athletes to have witnessed the success of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

“We watched the Games every day, and we will always be there for Chinese sports, forever,” the couple told media in an interview, adding the “victory” sign.

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