Meet Su, who signalled China’s emergence in international sports

November 12th, 2010 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Guangzhou, Nov 12 (IANS) Thirty-six years ago, pistol shooter Su Zhibo signalled China’s emergence as a world power on the international stage by winning the country’s maiden Asian Gold medal in Tehran in 1974.

Ten years later at the Los Angeles Games, the shooter heralded another golden chapter in Chinese sports by winning the country’s maiden Olympic gold medal.

Now as the country is gearing up to host the Asian Games here, Su took a walk down memory lane.

In Tehran, Su won three gold medals and a bronze, but he received no prize money, only a certificate of merit.

“People were really simple in those days, I never thought of a salary or getting prize money,” Su said, “I was just very happy that I didn’t disappoint my countrymen,” Su was quoted as saying by China Daily.

Four years later at the Bangkok Asian Games, Su stood atop the podium twice and was among the first group of sportsmen to receive the honorary badge of sports issued by the State Physical Culture and Sports Commission.

“I remembered I was awarded 300 yuan ($45) and I was very satisfied,” he said.

“Nowadays, athletes even have special-made podium-wear,” said the 61-year-old. “I only got two suits during those years. We wore the Chinese tunic suit when walking into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony, and pinned a national emblem to our sportswear when accepting a prize,” he said.

Su said the shooters struggled with their guns.

“We had to repair the pistols from time to time in 1974, because those of small calibre were all old ones made long ago,” said Su, whose pistol stopped working the night before the shooting final at the 1974 event. “Luckily, the coach worked on it all night, so I could join the final with a well-fixed pistol.”

In Los Angeles, Su turned a new page for Chinese sport by becoming the country’s first Olympic gold medallist.

“Maybe it was destiny,” said Su, who retired as the National Shooting Team’s Manager in 2009. “I was dedicated to shooting for more than 40 years. I have no regrets.”

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