By Alison Thompson | For IBSA
The news to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics until summer 2021 means a change in training, focus and planning for athletes across the world. For Chunhua Wang, China’s high scoring goalball star, it is a chance to rest and reset.
“We all feel sad that Tokyo 2020 has been postponed, but it’s safer to do so than risk the health of everyone. For our team, it means we can have a rest after a long training period. For me, it means I can stay with my family and enjoy time with them until the call from the national team”, says Wang who is fresh from the team’s silver medal win at the 2019 IBSA Goalball Asia Pacific Championships in Chiba, Japan.
Wang could almost be described as a goalball veteran, having been involved in the sport for the past seven years. With that experience also comes the focus for when the chance to compete again does return. “I will work hard to stay motivated and focused and I will have new plans, new ways of fighting, new training methods, but that can wait” she said.
Wang’s determination has seen her become one of China’s most successful female goalball stars, having a major role in the team’s success in Chiba last year.
Despite the team narrowly missing out on the gold medal to Japan in a nail biting 2-1 final game, Wang was the overall top scorer at the Championships. She scored an impressive 24 goals, including six in the semi-final alone. That said, she's not complacent about her contribution and success.
“Although I scored a lot of goals, I was sad about the final and even blamed myself for not playing well. Japan is our strongest opponent in Asia and during this competition, because I didn't play well myself, I missed two goals when I went on the court, which led to the final passivity of the competition.”
Personal disappointment aside, the Championships were also a good learning opportunity: “I think the most enjoyable thing for me was that I played as the leading player from the beginning to the end. I hadn’t had a chance to do this before. I was also able to see my own shortcomings and the gap between me and the experienced players. I now know my direction and what I need to work on for the future”.
Wang has seen her strength and success grow over the past two years. In the lead up to Chiba 2019, she was an integral part of the team’s success at the 2018 IBSA Goalball World Championships where she triumphed as the top Chinese player, scoring an impressive 20 goals.
And despite the upset of the Tokyo 2020 postponement, Wang remains upbeat and her enthusiasm, passion and pride of being part of the national team remains strong.
“My goalball career has enabled me to fight side by side with experienced players”, she said proudly. “I love the fighting spirit of the sport, the spirit of self-reliance, the honour and self-confidence it gives me”.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place from 24 August – 5 September 2021.
By Alison Thompson for IBSA