Locals win wheelchair dance titles in Wuhan

Tian Shengjie
A wheelchair dance team of eight people from Jiading won national champion titles during the eighth Special Olympics World Games Wheelchair Dance Sport competition.
Tian Shengjie

A wheelchair dance team of eight people from Jiading won national champion titles in five sporting events during the 11th National Paralympic Games and the eighth Special Olympics World Games Wheelchair Dance Sport competition in Wuhan, Hubei Province.

Nearly 100 disabled athletes from China participated in the competition last month.

They spent two years preparing for this year's competition. Although some team members had to work during the day, they trained for hours after working up till the night before the competition.

As the "elder brother" of the team, Zhang needed to not only have great dance movements, but also push his team members to practice well.

Zhang has a congenital spinal defect and lost his right crus when he was 17. In 2015, he started to learn Latin dance in a wheelchair and became one of the dance team members for his excellent learning ability.

Although he is one of the leading competitors in the field of wheelchair dance, Zhang believes there is still room for improvement.

"I haven't reached the standard of my teacher, such as my body extension," he said.

Because of his passion, he has won awards and honors many times.

The hands of Zhang and his dancing partner Shao Yue are rough and calloused from years of wheelchair dance practice, especially the six months before the competition.

Shao said she has undergone something of a reformation during training.

"I resisted dancing in a wheelchair at first because I can't walk and was on the plump side," she said. "But after several years of practice, I have lost dozens of pounds in a healthy way."

Zhu Xiaoyan and Yang Minliang are two young athletes with high paraplegia and are in worse physical condition than the other team members.

"For us, even sitting is a terrible struggle," Zhu said. But dancing has changed her a lot and let her have the courage to fight against fate, she added.

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