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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Rising Stars: China’s Generation Z Skateboarders Shine at the Asian Games

SportsRising Stars: China's Generation Z Skateboarders Shine at the Asian Games

In a remarkable demonstration of talent, China’s young skateboarders, representing Generation Z, showcased their prowess at the Asian Games, winning a majority of the available gold medals. Notably, 13-year-old skateboard prodigy Cui Chenxi emerged as a sensation by clinching gold in the women’s street final, shattering the previous record held by 15-year-old Chen Ye in the men’s park just two days prior.

The achievements of China’s skateboarders at the Asian Games have been nothing short of astounding. Of the four gold medals up for grabs in skateboarding, China seized three. This victory isn’t only about Cui; her peers too made their mark. Zeng Wenhui, an 18-year-old talent, secured silver in the women’s street. On the men’s side, 16-year-old Zhang Jie triumphed with gold, while 19-year-old Su Jianjun proudly took home bronze. Moreover, the women’s park final saw Chinese athletes Li Yujuan and Mao Jiasi capturing silver and bronze respectively.

Speaking about her win, Cui remained humble and driven. Despite a hiccup in her initial run, she trusted her instincts during her second attempt. “In the beginning, there were some errors. While my coach wanted a steady performance for the next run, I decided to take a calculated risk, and thankfully, it paid off,” she reflected. After her victory, in a touching moment of patriotism, she draped the Chinese national flag around her and skated throughout the arena, drawing roaring applause from the spectators, including her emotional father.

Looking forward, Cui has her sights set on the Paris Olympics. “The first goal is to qualify, and once there, I aim to make a significant impact,” she shared. Echoing her aspirations, teammate Zeng also expressed her intent to qualify for the Parisian games. She went on to praise Cui, stating, “You represent the future of Team China. Let’s push each other to achieve more.”

It’s worth noting that during the women’s street final, Mergielyn Didal of the Philippines, a past champion, was the sole participant over 18 years of age. Even though an injury prevented her from showcasing her best, the Chinese crowd showered her with unwavering support. She remarked on the vibrant atmosphere, “From the moment we set foot in Hangzhou, the cheer and warmth have been incredible. It’s a pleasure to see people welcoming us so warmly.” Unique to skateboarding, Didal frequently cheered for her younger competitors, highlighting the spirit of the sport, where camaraderie often trumps rivalry.

Skateboarding, unlike traditional sports, offers no fixed playbook. Instead, it encourages skaters to blend imagination with skills, creating a dynamic and enthralling spectacle. While the sport marked its Asian Games introduction in Jakarta in 2018, it only surged in global recognition after the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The ambiance throughout the skateboarding events in Hangzhou exuded a youthful, casual, and congenial aura. As China’s skateboarding team unveils an array of prodigious young talents, the nation’s interest in the sport surges, with its street culture ethos resonating widely.

Among these rising stars, 15-year-old champion Chen Ye radiated confidence, expressing, “Having clinched an Asian championship, my next ambition is to excel on the global stage and participate in more elite events, including the Olympics.” Zhang Jie, hot on his heels from his recent victory, shared his aspirations for Paris 2024, “My aim is to be among the top eight competitors.”


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