Hangzhou Asian Paralympic Games｜The former leader appeared in the stands to witness that the unfinished dream has finally come true
Xinhua News Agency, Hangzhou, October 25
When a familiar sound of “come on” came from the stands, Liu Cuiqing knew that it was her “Brother Dong”, the front-runner who had been with her for nearly ten years.
“I heard a very familiar voice, very loud and very powerful. He changed from my leader to my cheerleader.” Liu Cuiqing said.
In the women’s 100m T11 final of the Hangzhou Asian Paralympic Games on the 24th, blind Chinese athlete Liu Cuiqing won the gold medal in 12 seconds under the guidance of Chen Shengming.
In the track and field sprint competition for people with disabilities, blind athletes must complete the race with the assistance of the leader, and the two are connected by a lead rope about 10 cm long. This is the rope and the link between the two of them on the court.
In this game, Liu Cuiqing has two leaders. One is running side by side, and the other is cheering hard from the stands.
Next to him is Chen Shengming. As the new leader, he trained with Liu Cuiqing for only 5 months and helped the latter win the championship with a record-breaking performance in the first game in Hangzhou.
The person in the stands is called Xu Donglin. Since 2013, he and Liu Cuiqing have won more than 50 medals in domestic and foreign competitions.
Liu Cuiqing was born in Guangxi in 1991. She became blind due to an eye disease when she was young. During her school days, she discovered that she had a talent for running and started practicing track and field. Xu Donglin, who is three years older than Liu Cuiqing, is a professional athlete from Jiangxi. Before retiring, he chose to be a pacesetter after being recommended by his coach.
At the 2021 Tokyo Paralympic Games, Xu Donglin helped Liu Cuiqing win the women’s 200m T11 gold medal. After winning the championship, the scene of “you raised the flag, I raised you” made many people cry. However, what is little known is that both Liu Cuiqing and Xu Donglin were facing injuries at that time. Xu Donglin’s injury was so severe that he needed to travel to Tokyo in a wheelchair, and he also received a blocking injection before the game. But because of the sweat they shed for years of preparation and their trust in each other, neither of them was willing to give up.
But after the Paralympic Games, Xu Donglin could no longer persist due to injuries and withdrew from the competition. Liu Cuiqing’s partner on the other end of the lead rope was replaced by Chen Shengming, the current leader.
“I can only tell her ‘come on’ by shouting.” Before starting, Xu Donglin shouted Liu Cuiqing’s name into the field, and she reacted. “I’m sure she heard it.”
Xu Donglin came here from Guangdong specifically to cheer for Liu Cuiqing. He told reporters that although he has no way to continue running, he is still engaged in sports for people with disabilities.
“I told her that if I can’t run anymore, I hope you can complete the race with our two commitments and our common dreams. I will watch you from the stands.” This is what Xu Donglin said when the media interviewed him last year. The agreement made with Liu Cuiqing.
Xu Donglin said that he has won so many medals abroad, including the Asian Para Games, World Championships, and Paralympic Games. “We have not yet raised the national flag and played the national anthem in the country. This is a dream that the two of us want to work together to achieve.”
How would you describe the relationship between the two? Xu Donglin said that on the field, they are comrades, advancing and retreating together; in life, they are brothers and sisters, and relatives. “We have been together for so many years. We are not more relatives than relatives. We go to see her every Chinese New Year.”
After the game, Xu Donglin stood alone in the corner of the mixed interview area, waiting for his old partner to appear.
In the crowd, Chen Shengming spotted Xu Donglin and immediately led Liu Cuiqing to come forward. The three held hands tightly and then hugged each other.
An honor shared by three people. Liu Cuiqing said: “Thank you to Dong Lin for accompanying me for many years and laying the foundation for me; thank you to Chen Shengming for ‘providing’ me with a pair of clear eyes.”
As a partner who once ran together, Xu Donglin witnessed Liu Cuiqing realize their common dream.