Chinese athletes are celebrating outstanding successes in the Youth Olympics which have just concluded in Nanjing.
None more so than Chinese swimmer Shen Duo, who won six gold medals, a performance which makes her a strong contender for one of the six nominations for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.
The 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony will be held in Shanghai next Spring.
From Nanjing, Shen Duo was very much the local hero and she did not let down her supporters. She is a tall, powerful 17-year-old, but has not always been so strong. She was often ill when she was young.
In the hope of seeing Shen grow up healthy, her family gave her the name 'Duo', which is usually a boy's name. Shen has said: “I used to wonder why they gave me this name. But I like it now, because it sounds awesome.”
Other outstanding Chinese performances came from Xu ShiLin, who won gold in the tennis women’s singles and is being talked about as the next Li Na, and Fan ZhenDong, who won two table tennis gold medals. On the track Xu ZhiHang won gold in the men’s 400 metres hurdles and Liang XiaoJing won gold in women’s 100 metres.
One of the most enjoyable successes for China was the gold medal won by the Women’s Football Team. China used to be pre-eminent in women’s football, but have declined recently. The gold medal will encourage hope for the future.
Laureus Ambassador Lin Dan, the world’s greatest badminton player, was heavily involved in the Youth Games. Before the event, he ran one stage of the torch rally on the city walls of Nanjing and he also carried the torch into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony.
Almost 4,000 athletes, aged between 14 and 18, took part in the highly successful event, with host nation China finishing as the most successful country with 38 gold medals.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said at the Closing Ceremony: "The Organising Committee has set a great example by leaving another great legacy to the people. I would like to thank all our Chinese hosts. With your already world-famous efficiency and with your overwhelming friendliness you have made all of us feel at home in this ancient great city.”