Shen Yugong won her 3rd Paralympic Gold Medal in Sitting Volleyball (in a row) at London 2012 and has been the one of the sports best attackers for over a decade.
To read all about her background and how she got into Sitting Volleyball please click on her name above or HERE.
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‘At the age of 10, I began training in a sports school in Nantong, Jiangsu province. I felt I was progressing well and was told I showed a lot of promise throughout formative years. In 1984, three years after I began playing volleyball, I became a member of my provincial team. Despite my parents' protests, I continued to play for the Jiangsu team. I remember my parents being worried about the strain of following such a demanding path, but it had always been my hope and dream to play in the Olympic Games for China and at the age of 18 it looked like my dream may come true as I was invited to join the national youth team of China.
However, it seems my parents' concerns were not completely unfounded as just two years after she began training with the national youth team, I was severely injured in practice. My left leg was hurt so badly that doctors had to surgically install two 12-centimeter long pins into my knee and I was told I would never be able to walk properly again. This was a hard time for a 20 year old with big plans. Mentally, I took my new physical situation quite hard and it took her several years to accept the fact that she now had a disability and had to learn to live with it. I continued my education at a Nanjing school and majored in sports.'
'In 2002, when Sitting Volleyball was founded in Jiangsu, I was invited to take on the post as head coach of the provincial team. After only one year under my guidance the Jiangsu team took gold in the Chinese National Games for the Disabled. I was very proud. As Sitting Volleyball gained popularity, I was soon recruited for the national Sitting Volleyball team, as one of the main attackers. Not long after, our team, in their first Paralympic appearance, took home the gold in Athens 2004. This was topped in 2008 when we won the gold medal ‘inlaid with jade' in my motherland in Beijing, and the feeling in London came close to that as well!
I am very lucky.'
Photo credit: Adam Pretty/Getty Images