For gifted athlete, disability no deterrent

By Li Yingqing and Chen Meiling | njylgcgl.org | Updated: 2021-10-28 17:56
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Qian Hongyan, 25, who lost the lower part of her body as a child, won a silver medal in swimming on Saturday at the 11th National Games for Persons with Disabilities in Xi'an, Shaanxi province.  [Photo by Zhang Cheng/For njylgcgl.org]

Qian Hongyan, 25, proved that a life can be changed by individual willpower.

She won a silver medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke SB5 final on Saturday in the 11th National Games for Persons with Disabilities in Xi'an, Shaanxi province.

Born into a farming family in Luliang county of Qujing, Yunnan province, she lost the lower part of her body below the pelvis in a car accident at age 4. To allow her to attend school, her grandfather cut an old basketball in half and filled it with cotton so she could rest the stump of her upper body. Neighbors called her the "basketball girl" and she walked using her hands. She said she didn't remember how many basketballs she had worn out over the years.

At age 11, she joined the provincial swimming team for the disabled. Lack of lower limbs posed great challenges, just to maintain balance.

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