The Tokyo Games has finally kicked off after a yearlong delay. The stands were empty on Saturday due to COVID protocols, however, Chinese shooter Yang Qian, was all smiles as she received the gold medal for the women’s 10-meter air rifle competition.
The twenty-one-year-old set an Olympic record score of 251.8, beating out her competitors from Russia and Switzerland, who scored 251.1 and 230.6, respectively.
Shooting was actually one of the original nine events featured at Athens 1896. In the 10-meter air rifle competition, shots are fired from standing position. Although the athletes are mostly stationary, the sport is mentally and physically demanding.
Here’s how the official Olympics website describes the 10-meter air rifle competition:
“Shooters fire 60 shots at the target within a timeframe of one hour and 15 minutes, following which, the eight highest-scoring shooters battle it out for the medals.”
Qian apparently almost quit shooting to take care of her ill mother reports South China Morning Post. She’s from a village called Yangjianong in Ningbo. Born in 2000, Qian was first recruited to the Ningbo Sports School shooting team when she was in primary four. She then went on to win three gold medals in the 2014 provincial games. Finally, in 2015 she was drafted into the national youth team. Her excellence in shooting and high school academics led to her attending the prestigious Tsinghua University.
The hashtag #Tokyo Olympics first national anthem is China’s# subsequently heavily trended on Weibo, being read over 430 million times. Commenters praised Qian for her win, “Yang Qian is great. Congratulations to China for winning the first gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics! It's so cool to play the national anthem in Japan!”
As of Monday 12.15pm CST, China has taken home a total of 13 medals: six gold, two silver and five bronze, ranking first by total medals.
[Cover image via Global Times]