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Paralympic footballers ready to shine

08-16-2012 15:47 BJT

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China’s men’s national football team has had a few years to forget missing out on the Olympics and both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. However, China’s national 5-a-side football team is looking for even more Olympic success at this summer’s Paralympics. The team won a silver medal here in Beijing four years ago and as Andrew Dupuis reports, the team is ready to inspire again.

China’s able-bodied football teams may be neglectable on the international stage, but not these paralympians from the 5-a-side football team.

The team won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, losing only to Brazil in the final. Four years later, the squad expect to shine again in London.

Team members have to overcome many obstacles. The biggest of all may be to play football in total darkness.

Li Xiaoqiang, Captain, Chinese National 5-a-side Football Team said, "We have to wear eyeshades in the game, and I could hardly control the ball at first. I knew nothing about the technique. But gradually under the guidance of our coach, I caught up."

Stripped of their sight, the footballers have to rely heavily on touch.

A simple move may require more than a hundred times of practice. To locate themselves clearly on the field, they also have to sharpen their ears with the rattling of the ball, the shouting of teammates and coaches.

After years of hard working, the young players can finally run like wind on the field and experience the pure joy of football.

Li Xiaoqiang, Captain, Chinese National 5-a-side Football Team said, "At the beginning, it’s just a game for me, an entertainment. My families were happy to see me enjoy myself so much in the game. I will continue to play until my physical condition forbids."

The 5-a-side football tournament will be held from August 31st to September 8th. China will face Brazil, France and Turkey in group stage.

Editor:Wang Shuo |Source: CCTV.com

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