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Canoeist sews up China's 1st Hangzhou Para gold

China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-24 09:23
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Gold medalist Xie Maosan (C) of China, silver medalist Seryu Monika (L) of Japan and bronze medalist Sara Abdolmaleki of Iran attend the awarding ceremony for the Women's KL1 of Canoe during the 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, Oct 23, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Tailor-turned-paddler Xie Maosan claimed the first gold medal of the 4th Asian Para Games in the women's KL1 canoe final at Fuyang Water Sports Centre in Hangzhou on Monday morning.

She timed 55.478 seconds ahead of Monika Seryu of Japan and Sara Abdolmaleki of Iran.

This was also the first gold for Team China at the Games, which run through Sunday to Saturday. It was also the first time canoeing has been included in the Asian Para Games, adding an extra significance to the title.

The 37-year-old Xie said her dream to become a Para athlete dates back to 2008 when she was inspired by wheelchair dancers at the Beijing Paralympic Games. She was a tailor at the time.

Xie Maosan of China celebrates after the Women's KL1 Final of Canoe during the 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, Oct 23, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

"I admired them and was wondering if I could become a Para athlete like them," she told Guangming Daily.

"However, I didn't know anyone who could introduce me to the sport so I had to give up the dream."

Two years later when the local Para canoe team was recruiting new members, she seized the opportunity to become a canoe paddler at the age of 24. She made the national team in 2015.

Xie placed fifth at the women's KL1 event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games and the victory in Hangzhou has boosted her confidence to fight for a better performance at the Paralympics in Paris next year.

"I was reborn by canoeing. It gives me a lot of confidence."

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