Chinese goalball player Chen Fengqing believes the third time will be the charm as she heads into Rio 2016, where she seeks to claim a long-awaited gold after winning silver at the last two Paralympic Games.
China women’s team lost both finals by a one-point margin. They were defeated by the USA 6-5 eight years ago in Beijing, and lost to Japan 1-0 at London 2012.
“I played both at Beijing and London, where the team won silver, but many things have changed since,” said Chen.
“I gave birth to a child after London, which helped me become mentally stronger and more mature. My experiences on and off the court add up.”
World No.1 China qualified for Rio 2016 after finishing second at the Seoul 2015 IBSA World Games. The team went on to claim silver again a few months later at the 2015 IBSA Goalball Asia-Pacific Championships in Hangzhou, China.
“Our main goal in Hangzhou was to see what and how we could improve,” she said.
“In the meantime, we needed to gain more experience and learn more from the other teams.
“We know September’s Paralympic Games will be the real challenge.”
Apart from reigning Paralympic gold medallists Japan, current world champions USA and European champions Turkey will be other two strong contenders for gold.
“All the teams that made it to Rio are strong teams, and none of them can be taken lightly,” said Chen.
“But every athlete’s biggest opponent is always oneself.
“We have to remain confident and humble, and be serious and patient in every match.
“I am very much looking forward to the final match!”
Chen, who had a congenital disease that caused her blindness, took up the sport in 2003. One year later, she joined the provincial team which, led by Chen, finished third at the National Games.
“At those National Games, I was voted both Best Defender and Best Scorer,” she recalled.
“Soon after, I started playing for the national team.”
Chen also believes Para sports are fundamental in helping athletes develop a stronger personality.
“I think sport is a stage to help Para athletes improve their self-esteem, confidence and independence,” she said.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.
Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.