Led by her running guide, Zhou Guohua crossed the finish line first at the women's 100-meter race at the recently concluded London Paralympic Games, winning the gold medal and setting a new world record at 12.05 seconds.
Zhou Guohua (L) competes at the London Paralympics. [sohu.com]
What makes her win even more significant is that she is vision-impaired. In fact, compared to the top women athletes at the Olympic Games, her running time could rank in the top 10.
Zhou, 22, was born with weak sight in Ulanqab, northwest China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. In 2009, she left her hometown for Dongguan, south China's Guangzhou Province, where she got a job as a masseuse.
At the end of 2009, Luo Jinhui, an official from the Dongguan Disabled Person's Federation, met Zhou and immediately sensed her athletic potential.
"She had the bones and muscles of an athlete," said Luo, who persuaded her to give it a try by pointing out that she could make a higher income as an athlete than as a masseuse.
Zhou accepted Luo's offer and was soon making progress. In 2011, she won one gold and two silver medals at the national disabled games. Shortly after that, she joined the national team.
Before the London Paralympic Games, Zhou attended her first international sports event in Croatia and won two gold medals in the women's 100-meter and 200-meter races.
Zhou trained hard for the games with her partner and running guide, Li Jie, who accompanied her to London. As Zhou has lost almost all her eyesight, Li serves as her running guide by leading her using a rope tether during her races.
Although this is the first time that Zhou attended the Paralympics, she is looking forward to competing in many more international and national sports events.
(Source: oeeee.com/Translated and edited by womenofchina.cn)
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