Watching Chinese athletes’ exploits at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has inspired Qu Zimo to write his own story of glory in the same Japanese city next month.
The 19-year-old watched as many matches as possible at the Summer Games, where his compatriots Wang Yi Lyu/Huang Dong Ping (mixed doubles) and Chen Yu Fei (women’s singles) won their events, to prepare himself for badminton’s first appearance at the Paralympic Games.
“I thought China would win one gold. I was so impressed we took two gold and four silver medals. It’s amazing, our athletes really killed it in Tokyo,” Qu, world champion in men’s singles WH1 and doubles WH1-2, told CGTN.
“I want to hear the Chinese national anthem (too). I want to sing it on the podium. That’s my goal.”
Despite his favourite tag, Qu is not taking anything for granted.
“You can’t afford to underestimate any opponent. You must be serious about every match. Korea will pose the biggest challenge but Japan, Thailand and Germany have competitive athletes too,” said Qu, who has been training with his Tokyo-bound teammates in Beijing.
Chinese Para badminton team head coach Dong Jiong, himself an Olympic silver medallist at Atlanta 96, admits his charges can’t wait to get going.
“They were all so excited to learn badminton is part of the Paralympics programme. We’ve waited so long for this opportunity,” said the 48-year-old.
“I want every one of the Chinese athletes to perform and win gold but they have already surpassed their limit with what they have done so far.”
Qu would be one of nine Para badminton players representing China in as many events at the Yoyogi National Stadium from 1-5 September.