Dark horse emerges, Olympic heroine retires at Chinese National Games

Updated 2017-08-29 11:30:19 Xinhua

One year after Rio Olympics, the Chinese National Games witnessed the shift of generations as Olympic champion Wei Qiuyue announced her retirement from volleyball whilst a dark horse emerged in shooting in the opening day competitions of Monday.

The 28-year-old Wei, an established setter of the Olympic title winning team, called it an end to her professional career on Monday afternoon following her native Tianjin's 3-0 loss to Zhejiang in the 5th placing decider of the women's volleyball tournament at the Games.

"It's a pity that we failed to make the semifinals, but we have fought for every point and showed everybody the fighting spirits of Tianjin women's volleyball team," Wei said.

The host Tianjin, who had taken the women's volleyball golds in the last three National Games, settled for the sixth place on home turf.

"It's the last game for some veterans of our team, we cherish every moment and every point," Wei added. "We had so much great time together."

Despite struggling with knee injury in the last few years, the star setter, also a member of the Chinese squad winning the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, helped the Chinese women win back-to-back titles at the World Cup and the Olympic Games in 2015 and 2016.

In Monday evening, her national teammates Hui Ruoqi, Zhang Changning and Gong Xiangyu led Jiangsu to their first top-podium finish at the quadrennial sports gala, beating Shanghai 3-0 in the final.

While some veterans bade their farewell, young talents are paving their ways to steal the limelight, as an unknown girl took the women's 10m air pistol in the opening day shooting competitions.

Che Xiaoting, who has no record on shooting with the world governing body ISSF, beat a bunch of Olmpic champions to claim the gold medal for Jiangsu with 238.9 points.

"I never imagined I could win the gold, and it feels like I'm dreaming," said the 23-year-old, who's taking part in her second National Games.

London Olympic champion Zhang Mengxue of Shandong and Beijing Olympic winner Chen Ying failed to qualify for the final, while two-time Olympic titlist Guo Wenjun of Shaanxi finished seventh.

Five-time Olympian Tan Zongliang of Shandong, 45, ranked fifth in the men's 50m pistol at his seventh straight National Games since 1993.

"I'm lucky to make fifth place as I'm 45 years old. Shooting, however, is and will be my life pursuit," said Tan, the runner-up of men's slow fire pistol at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The National Games' first gold medal after the official opening ceremony, went to four girls from Sichuan in the women's quadruples lightweight rowing.

In another team event of Monday, Jiangsu beat arch-rival Shandong 23-13 in the men's handball final to retain its third National Games title.

The diving pool was again dominated by established ones with Olympic champions Shi Tingmao and Chen Aisen respectively taking home victories in the women's 3m springboard and men's 10m platform as the 10-day diving competition concluded.

In fencing, China's first male fencing Olympic champion Zhong Man took his first National Games gold in individual event, nine years after his crown at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The 13th National Games, officially opened on Sunday, will run through to Sept. 8 with 130 finals in 12 Olympic sports as well as in 17 out of 19 popular programs had been completed ahead of the opening ceremony.

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