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Ten years preparing three minutes on stage: Wang’s goalball aspirations

Date: June 24, 2021

Category: Goalball

China’s goalball star Chunhua Wang is preparing for her Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020 from 24 August. And what a debut it could be from the 26-year-old who has already proved her talent amongst a very strong team that has claimed silver at the last three Paralympics.

Wang’s experiences at the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball 2018 World Championships where she scored 20 goals, and the 2019 Asia Championships where she finished as top scorer with 24 goals, are proving invaluable in preparing for the Paralympics and competing on the biggest stage.

There is a saying in China: ‘Ten years preparing for only three minutes on stage’, which means you have to work harder until the final result is made. Therefore, my previous training and competitions have laid a solid foundation for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.”

Competing at her first Games is an impressive achievement for Wang who was first introduced to the sport after studying in a school for people with visual impairments where the teachers ran a goalball course.

Wang showed promise despite her tender age and played for her local team, the Hunan Province, aged 17. Within three years she was selected for the national side, making her debut in 2013 but did not go to Rio 2016. Now her time has come.

I feel proud for myself,” she said. “I cherish the chance to play with my teammates and I hope I play well, and the games are successful and I can return home safely.”

Wang feels that the experience can help her in the future, on and off the court.

“For me, it makes me more confident, more understanding of the charm of sports, and makes me more optimistic and strong in my future, especially when I encounter challenges in life and study.”

Despite being an international athlete, Wang still faces the same everyday challenges as other people with visual impairments including navigating around places, social situations and finding accessible technology.

Chunhua Wang of China's women's goalball team spread herself across the front of goal
Credit: Ryo Ichikawa/Japan Goalball Association

However, her education at her local school helped her greatly in life including financially, as the school was free to attend.

It’s natural for me to go to this school. I was taught middle school knowledge and living skills there. I am able to live and love life, quite helpful for me,” she said.

Wang has good prospects for winning a medal at Tokyo 2020, given China’s record. They will play RPC, Israel, Australia and Canada in pool C.

If they were to advance past the group stages and play hosts Japan, it would give Wang and her teammates a chance to get one over a fierce rival who beat them in the London 2012 final and the 2015, 2017 and 2019 Asian championships.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place from 24 August – 5 September 2021 with goalball beginning on 25 August and concluding on 3 September. All competitions will take place at Makuhari Messe.

By Sam Harris | For IBSA


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