Winners of first gold medal in Hangzhou feel proud to win at hometown, aim high for Paris 2024
Published: Sep 24, 2023 10:53 PM
Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

The Chinese duo Zou Jiaqi and Qiu Xiuping bagged the first gold medal of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou in the women's lightweight double sculls. The pair shared their proud feelings of winning in the hometown and their top goals for the Paris Olympics 2024. 

During an interview on Sunday afternoon, the duo shared with the Global Times their shiny gold medals, as well as their calloused and scarred hands.

They said they didn't feel exhausted or laborious because of it. "People in all walks of life have hard times. Since we chose this path, we must strive to be the best we can be," Qiu told the Global Times.

Talking about the match, Qiu said that she was extremely excited when she saw the national flag and heard the national anthem as they rowed past the terminal line. 

Zou, a Hangzhou local, was excited over the support she received at her hometown. "Usually, we only hear (spectators cheering) in the last 250 meters of the red buoys, but today we can hear it in the 500 meters, which is quite exciting.

Qiu also shared the excitement over the home crowds. "I would like to thank you all for coming today," she said. "I saw so many people paying attention to rowing today. I am really touched. I hope everyone will pay more attention to rowing in the future."

Speaking of the next goal - Paris 2024, the pair did not hide that they are reaching for the top podium. 

"Since we walked off the Hangzhou podium, Paris has become our goal," Qiu said. "We will restart from zero, completing every training session whole heartedly. We wish to go to the top in Paris."

Zou noted that the gold medal in the Asian Games will help them prepare and build self-confidence.

Zou said that she and her partner have developed a tremendous rapport in life. "We eat, live and sleep together, and will get to know each other more and more in life, from every detail, and then bring this tacit understanding to the boat."

In the match on Sunday morning, Zou Jiaqi and Qiu Xiuping finished well clear the other rowers, finishing at 7:06.78, about 10 seconds ahead of Team Uzbekistan in second, while Indonesia claimed the bronze medal.

Since joining hands, they have achieved a series of impressive results. In 2022, they finished second in this event at the World Rowing Cup in Belgrade. The pair has already qualified for the Paris Olympics through the 2023 Rowing World Championships.

On Sunday, the first matchday of the Hangzhou Asian Games, China's rowing bagged six gold medals, taking their all-time Asian Games rowing total to 104, including 98 golds, and they are likely to surpass the 100 gold medal-mark on Monday.