While crossing the busy road on a Southern Chinese Village of Zhuang Shang in the year 2000, a four year old was hit by a speedy car. She was mercilessly crushed under huge tyres, an accident of course which her mother saw standing helpless on the other side of the road. Doctors had given up every hope on this little girl; however, she survived. She survived to be the Swimming Champion of China in Para Games without her Legs, Hip Joints and Lower Ribs. All she had as a remaining body is a lower Torso and a Heart overflowed with Will and Determination!
Qian Hongyan, a 20 year old is now a Swimming Champion. She grew up in Luliang county of Yunnan province of China where her family had to struggle the challenges faced to get Qian adjusted to the normal life. Due to the severe accident that occurred, doctors had to amputate both her legs and hip joint, which left her so weak that she couldn’t sit and not even take support of wheel-chair. Extensive Surgery, where Qian can get Prosthetic legs were the only options available according to doctors; however, the cost was predicted to be over a million dollars. This was impossible for Qian’s mother, who earned $20 a month working in a factory.
Who wouldn’t get sad after seeing their loved one struggle with the life? The family members saw Qian Struggling with her half body, when her grandfather Yuan, devised a simple indigenous creation after watching children playing Basketball. Yuan cut a Basketball into half, stuffed it with floor mats from his car and put her into it. To everyone’s surprise Qian was comfortable and was easily moving now. She was provided wooden handles to take support of land while she moved with the help of the Basketball. Soon, the little girl started school, playing outdoors with other children making friends. According to her father, on the first day of school she was surrounded by other curious kids, her mum asked her if she was scared, her answer was “No. I have to go to school.”
After media attention in 2005, when she was known as a ‘Basketball Girl’, her life changed. China Rehabilitation Research Center at Beijing offered her to be fitted with new artificial legs with no cost at all. She couldn’t complete her studies as her family is from impoverished background, but she had many other options to utilize her talent in. After watching 2007 National Games for Disabled, Qian supported by the Yunnan Provincial Federation of the Disabled, joined the Nation’s first Swimming Club for the disabled in 2007. It was next to impossible for a person to swim without legs but she mastered it with all her determination. “I had to give much more than other kids when I learned to swim,” “It seemed there was no way I could float in the water. I was choked.” said Qian.
Zhang Honghu, her coach said that, “The biggest challenge for her is that without legs, she would be like a boat without peddles, and without sense of direction she’s likely to steer to the sides hampering her speed. Therefore I designed a set of special training to strengthen her coordination and balance of shoulders’.
Proving her guts, Qian went on to win three gold medals in Yunnan Para Games, 2013. She took a gold and two silver medals at the National Swimming Championship for the Disabled (Under 18) in 2009. On turning 18, she came in first place in the 100 meter breaststroke final of the 10th Yunnan Province Games for the Disabled. With all her efforts she works four hours a day to accomplish her dream of participating in Paralympics and winning medals for China.