China’s air pistol gold medallist hopes to find long-lost father

August 13th, 2008 - 10:52 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Shaan

Beijing, Aug 13 (DPA) China’s gold medallist Guo Wenjun is hoping her new-found fame after winning the 10-metre air pistol competition will help her achieve another goal - finding her long-lost father. Guo’s parents divorced soon after she was born in Xi’an, Shaanxi province in northern China, according to the China Daily. Guo’s father raised her and introduced her to shooting when she was 14.

But one night in April 1999 when she was competing in a match outside the province, he left, leaving only a note to Guo’s coach Huang Yanhua, saying, “I’m going far away. I want you to treat Wenjun as your own daughter and help her do her very best.”

Guo has not seen her father since then.

Upset over not hearing from her father for the past 10 years, Guo thought about quitting several times.

After finishing a disappointing ninth at the fifth City Games in 2005 she decided to give up sport, and worked for a year at a local department store selling sportswear.

Guo made a promising comeback, winning both a gold and a silver medal at the 2006 Doha Asian Games just two months after entering the national team.

Still, she again tried to quit professional sports a year ago, but her coach convinced her to persevere, according to the China Daily.

He told her: “Your father would be disappointed if you give up now, and your winning a gold medal could be the most effective of any ‘Missing Persons’ notice.”

Her hope that her father will see her at the medals podium, made her continue her training.

Guo won her gold medal Sunday, and soon China’s millions of “netizens” - internet enthusiasts - got word of her quest to find her father and launched an online search on her behalf.

As of Tuesday, more than 10,000 people had signed up to help, according to The Beijing News Wednesday.

A message was posted Monday on the popular portal’s chatroom from someone claiming to be Guo’s father, the Guangzhou Daily newspaper’s Dayang Website reported Wednesday.

The message said: “Child, father congratulates you. You are always the pride of your father, but father is too ashamed to see you now. Can you understand father?”

About a minute later, the same message appeared, showing the person who posted the message is in Guangzhou city in Guangdong province.

The messages promoted many netizens to ask online: “Who are you?” One message posted online said: “If you are Guo Wenjun’s father, people of the whole country want to congratulate your family. Please be brave and reunite with your daughter.”

It was unclear Wednesday whether the person who posted the message was really Guo’s father.

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