Chinese track and field couple show spirit of athletes with disabilities
Published: Mar 01, 2022 07:47 PM
Chinese track and field athlete Liu Cuiqing and her guide Xu Donling at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Photo: VCG

Chinese track and field athlete Liu Cuiqing and her guide Xu Donling at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Photo: VCG

"Sports gave us new lives," said Miao Mingan, a deaf Chinese track and field athlete, speaking of himself and his wife Yang Lei, a fellow deaf track and field athlete who has won more than 30 championships in the sport. 

Over their more than 20-year careers, the couple from Yangzhou, East China's Jiangzu Province have had many highlights.

Miao has won 59 gold medals, while his wife has won 34 gold medals, at various national and international events including the 21st Deaflympics in 2009. 

 In addition to winning the gold in the 4x100 relay at the Deaflympics in 2009, that same year Miao also won the title of CCTV Sports Personality of the Year, which is often called "the Oscars" of the sports world. 

Yang has also won three medals at China's national track and field tournament for athletes with disabilities, including two championships in 2004.  

Both had atypical life stories before taking the top spot on the podium. 

Miao lost his hearing at the age of 3, but his talent for running was then discovered by a gym teacher when he was 12. 

This path eventually led him to become part of the provincial sports team of Jiangsu when he was 16.

He eventually a member of China's national track and field team. 

Yang, who was born in 1980, was also a member of the Chinese women's track and field team. 

Over the years, the two constantly encouraged each other to continue working and training hard to become successful athletes. 

Their love story originated with this mutual aid when Yang helped Miao communicate with overseas athletes using international sign language when they were both competing in the 2005 Deaflympics. 

Miao told media that, while he was not able to win any medals at the event, he still received the best gift of his life in the form of Yang. 

Their love gave him the motivation to pin down the gold for his family in 2009, the same year they had their baby girl. 

Although the two are both retired now, they still maintain their "never-give-up" attitude in their everyday lives. 

Speaking to media, they noted they are very proud of as Chinese athletes to witness the success of the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. 

"We watched the Games every day, and we will always be there for Chinese sports, forever," the couple told media in an interview, adding the sign for "victory."   

Global Times