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Wave of courage

Updated: 2022-01-06 08:21 ( CHINA DAILY )
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Xu Shixiao (right) and Sun Mengya pose with their coach after winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics. CHINA DAILY


A new start

In 2018, she won the 500m women's single event at the Canoe Slalom World Cup in Hungary. In 2019, she partnered with Sun, then 18, to get their ticket for the Tokyo Olympics by winning gold at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships.

Compared with athletes who are in their early 20s, Xu's physical recovery is slower. But the career expectancy for athletes has got longer than before. One of her fellow athletes has given birth to a baby and returned to be a paddler.

"Age is not a problem anymore for an athlete in the era of technology," says Xu.

"When I got my Olympic medal, I was 29. The average age of other competing paddlers was 24 to 25."

During the four-year preparation for the Olympics, Xu trained on rivers and lakes.

"Except for water, I can't see anything else. I must have 100 percent concentration," says Xu.

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