14-year-old climber becomes gold medalist at the National Games, ‘real model teen’ say netizens
Published: Sep 27, 2021 06:45 PM
Young climber Yang Lihao Photo: Sina Weibo

Young climber Yang Lihao Photo: Sina Weibo

Yang Lihao, the 14-year-old teen climber representing Shanghai who won a gold medal in the combined Lead and Boulder event of the U16 Group at the National Games, has been applauded by Chinese netizens for becoming the first rock climbing champion in the history of the national sports gala, which included the event for the first time ever in 2021. 

Yang competed in the rock climbing and the 'difficulty' events in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province on September 20, achieving the first and the second places respectively and winning the gold with his overall score. 

"The climbing event tests not only an athlete's physical strength and skills, but also engages one's strategic thinking when it comes to planning and choosing the routes. Climbers have to be very clear-minded even before the competition begins. This is a sport that needs experience, but he appears very talented at his age," Wang Ming, an amateur climber in Chengdu, told the Global Times on Monday. 

A student athlete who juggles training and his studies at the same time, the young athlete took part in the competition with his schoolmate Jiang Yuxuan. The two were seen chilling out together at the games. 

Yang's success has inspired his other schoolmates in Shanghai and many of the students took to Sina Weibo to express their support for the young climber. 

"I'm feeling so proud that he is my classmate," posted one netizen on Sina Weibo. 

This pride has not been limited to only his schoolmates; the young climber has also been called by many netizens "a real model teen." 

"Comparing to those 'sissy' boy images that are highly popular, he reflects a healthy image of a young teen, expanding good hobbies, developing both body and mind," said a netizen on Sina Weibo. 

"If my daughter had to be a fan of an idol, I wish she could follow Yang rather than those dancing and singing idols who look and act dramatically and strangely online," Yao, a 43-year-old dad, told the Global Times. 

Yang discovered a passion for climbing after his father took him to a local climbing gym when he was in the third grade. 

The athlete looked confident before the National Games, telling media that he hoped to win at least one medal. He also plans to study abroad in the US after the competition. 

Ever since 2016, the year rock climbing was officially added as an Olympic sport, teams have emerged across China with the aim of discovering and developing new talented athletes. Shanghai is one of the leading cities in the sport as many of its schools have been included in the first batch of featured national rock climbing schools. 

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