Meet the team: China’s world champion para women
The defending world champions matched the world record on home soil in qualifying at the 2017 World Para Archery Championships, and secured a gold medal match berth against Italy.
The top-seeded recurve women’s open team in Beijing, China is represented by Lin Dandan, Wu Chunyan and Cai Geya at these worlds. Lin and Wu both return from the title-winning Chinese team at Donaueschingen 2015, where they beat Russia in the final.
We found out what makes them tick.
What order do you shoot in and why?
Wu: Lin, Cai, then me. Why? We are just used to it. It’s like a secret agreement. And we encourage each other and cheer for each other that way.
What’s a full training regime like? How many arrows per day?
Cai: Maybe 500? That’s a lot!
Wu: It’s not set. When we are practicing hard for competition, it’s a lot. When we are relaxing, it will be a lot less.
Lin: About 400-500.
Who’s the team leader? What do you have to do?
[Everybody points at Wu.]
Wu: What do I do? I gather everyone to do the routine exercises before practice, and get everybody going. When our coaches have orders, I pass them on.
What does the Chinese team focus on that you think other teams don’t focus on?
Wu: We are together.
Cai: We try and bring out the performance in our daily practice. If you are satisfied with your performance in the match, you really don’t think too much about the performance of other teams.
What keeps you awake at night?
Wu: I get that sometimes. I wake up at night. To some extent, you will think about the matches. That’s not to say I get nervous, I just care about them!
Cai: I don't wake up, but I dream. I dream about practising archery.
What makes a great team?
Cai: The coaches.
Wu: The coaches are great, and we are united. We encourage each other, not matter how bad or how good the performance is.
Who’s the funniest?
Cai: Me? I am not sure why they always laugh at me when I speak. I don’t know! I am embarrassing.
What’s your biggest weakness?
Cai: Biggest weakness? I am too soft; I don’t know how to say it. I am not a fierce person. When someone is talking loud or being aggressive, I will back off.
Wu: I am afraid of thunderstorms.
Lin: Does everyone have to answer this question? No, I don’t have any weaknesses, 360 degrees no weaknesses.
Wu: She is a tough girl!
What advice would you give to your 14 year-old self?
Wu: For the 14 year old me? Study harder and get better! At that time, I spent too much time playing. If I spent more time studying or learning to deal with things. I was young then, and did what I wanted. If I could listen more to other’s people's advice, I think I could be a better person.
Who’s the most fun to practice with?
Wu: We all love training. If we didn’t like it, we wouldn't spend as much time doing it.
Cai: If you don’t like it, you can't put the hours in.
Wu: Yeah. You must have willpower to keep going.
Give us each of you in three words.
Wu: Three words is too short, how about three sentences?
I work hard. I love to smile. I am passionate.
Cai: I'm serious about things. Quiet. I'm strict with myself. [The others start joking how she likes to turn off the lights at night.]
Lin: Not calm enough, stubborn, and not quiet at all!
The 2017 World Archery Para Championships run 12-17 September in Beijing, China.