Record-breaking Liu a shining light
There is an old saying that great haste is not always good speed.
Liu Cuiqing, who in 2016 became China's first disabled sprinter to be nominated for a Laureus World Sports Award, continues to demonstrate how patience and inner peace can benefit blind athletes.
Liu set a world record in the 200 meters and an Asian record in the 100m at the 10th National Games for Persons with Disabilities in Tianjin last week.
With a total haul of four gold medals and one bronze at the competition, the 28-year-old said setting the world record (24.39 seconds) was "beyond expectation". But unlike most other athletes, Liu doesn't dwell on her "next big goal".
"My only ambition is to keep running a little better each time," she said after the race.
Born in 1991, Liu lost her sight at age 10. She was discovered by a coach at age 18 and joined the national team in 2010.
At the Incheon Asian Games in 2014, she won four gold medals and then broke a 10-year world record at the 2015 world championships.
"Sports has given my life purpose. When I lost my sight to disease, I had to leave school at age 10. I just stayed at home, which turned me into a silent girl. I dared not talk to others," she said.
Liu's parents were farmers in a suburb of Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. They sent her to a school for students with disabilities when she was 14, and it was there Liu discovered her talent as a runner.
"Compared to other athletes I have trained, Liu is quite introverted but I am impressed by her aptitude for running," said Xu Donglin, 31, who has worked with her for eight years. "She has a sunny character, which has really helped her development."
Liu said Xu's sense of humor helps make training easier. "He has many jokes to share with me, which makes me happy," she said.
"I like all kinds of music and traveling with friends, because training is sometimes boring, but competing always gives me a fresh outlook on life."
As for what she will do when her competitive running days are over, Liu said she has a few ideas.
"Just opening a small massage shop will be fine, perhaps," she added.