Naturalized athlete Nina Schultz wins gold at China’s National Games
Published: Sep 26, 2021 07:12 PM
Former Chinese-Canadian athlete Nina Schultz, also known as Zheng Ninali in China, has acquired Chinese citizenship. (photo: Xinhua)

Former Chinese-Canadian athlete Nina Schultz, also known as Zheng Ninali in China, has acquired Chinese citizenship. (photo: Xinhua)

Naturalized Chinese athlete Nina Schultz, Chinese name Zheng Ninali, won the women's heptathlon championship at the 14th National Games track and field competition on Saturday. After the win, she expressed her ambition to go even further at the Paris Olympic Games.

Schultz took the crown with a score of 6,026, winning first place in four categories in the seven-event competition. She was the only athlete at the competition to score higher than 6,000.

"I'm here to claim the gold medal this time," Schultz told media after Saturday night's competition, additionally revealing her ambitions for the Paris Summer Olympics in 2024. 

"My goal [for the Paris Olympic Games] is to get myself into the first five places in the women's heptathlon. Of course there is more to expect in the future. We'll wait and see."

September marks Schultz's second time competing in the Chinese National Games. 

In her first games in 2017, Schultz attended the games as a Canadian citizen. At the time, she expressed her willingness to give up her Canadian citizenship to represent China at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Schultz began her naturalization process in 2019 and was granted Chinese citizenship in 2021. After finishing her naturalization, Schultz won the chance to compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games, where she ranked at the 10th place in the competition.

Schultz's athletic career has had a long and deep relationship with her maternal grandmother.

Speaking to media, Schultz has said that she wanted to represent China at the Tokyo Olympic Games in order to fulfill the dream of her maternal grandmother, well-known Chinese athlete Zheng Fengrong.

In 1957, Zheng Fengrong made history by becoming the first Chinese woman to break a world record by achieving a high jump of 1.77 meters at the National Athletic Championships in Beijing, beating the previous 1.76-meter high jump record set by US athlete Mildred McDaniel in 1956. 

Schultz has a tattoo of the Chinese characters jinxin jinli, or "do my best," on her right thigh. The phrase was taught to her by her record-breaking grandmother, according to media reports.

"My grandmother was that never-say-never person for me. She spent 330 days at training venues out of a year," Schultz told media in March. 

"So I think of my grandmother every time I feel exhausted during a competition."

Global Times
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