Best blade forward

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-1 18:53:01

Chen Yimei runs on a track field. Photo: CFP

During the massage, her teammate puts his entire body weight on Chen. Photo: CFP


She enjoys a massage after training. Photo: CFP


Chen throws herself into a sandbox during practice. Photo: CFP


The part of Chen's limb that touches the prosthetic leg always gets bruised. Chen said it takes a few days to recover. Photo: CFP

Chen's coach helps her put on her prosthetic leg. Photo: CFP

Chen Yimei's day starts at 5:30 am and ends at around 6 pm. The 22-year-old runs, jumps, and dives into the sandbox all day. Among those working out on the track field, she stands out, as where her left leg once was is a high-tech running blade.

When she was 9, Chen lost her leg in a car crash and began to rely on a pair of crutches to get around. 

When she started college at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in Sichuan Province in 2012, she received a pamphlet asking whether she would like to enter track and field events. Chen already liked sports and in her free time she would climb mountains and cycle, things she had been doing since she was young. But this was the first time she tried track and field.

Her training started with building up her back, waist and abdomen muscles using exercise machines. Another memorable exercise was hopping on her right leg 100 meters three times in a row.

After hopping for 9 months, she was given a prosthetic leg designed for athletes. The leg has a running blade attached to it.

But getting used to the leg was difficult. The point at which the leg attaches to her limb pinches her skin, especially when she's doing high-intensity activities, such as running or jumping. Right now, she has bruises all over her limb.

Chen is participating in the 9th National Paralympic Games that are starting in less than two weeks as a member of the Sichuan provincial team and competing in the long jump. She hopes in the future, she can make it to the national team and to the top of the sport.

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