A YOUNG CHINESE SHOOTER HAS OLYMPIC DREAM IN HIS CROSSHAIRS
Yang Haoran, winner of four medals at the 13th Chinese National Games takes aim at the Tokyo games
STIANJIN till in his early 20s, world champion shooter Yang Haoran is a man of few words. But he is not shy about naming his ambitions to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. That Olympic dream has moved closer to becoming reality for Yang, who just won four medals at the ongoing 13th Chinese National Games.
The 21-year-old Yang, from Hebei province, nailed golds in the men’s 10m air rifle and the 50m rifle 3 positions, got one silver in the newly-introduced 10m air rifle mixed team, and one bronze from the 10m air rifle team event from his second National Games.
Yang is the reigning champion in the men’s 10m air rifle, but he has seldom competed in the men’s 50m rifle 3p event.
Yang set a new national record with 1,189 points in the men’s 50m rifle 3p qualification round, surpassing the world mark by three points recently. The current world record was set by Nazar Louginets of Russia on June 12, 2014 at the ISSF World Cup Rifle & Pistol in Munich of Germany.
“I am glad to win my second gold in the 50m rifle 3p, especially because I’ve never won in the event before,” says Yang, who scored 460.4 points in the 50m rifle 3p final.
“I feel ashamed, because Yang is not really a shooter familiar with the 50m rifle 3p,” says Hui Zicheng of the PLA team, who finished second in the event.
It seems Hui is correct in his assessment. Yang is mainly known for his stellar record in the 10m air rifle, which began in 2013 as a young Chinese emerged as a shooting prodigy.
In 2012, Yang won the youth event in the 10 m air rifle at the Asian Air Gun Championships. One year later, the 17-year-old Yang won the men’s 10m air rifle event from his first try at the ISSF World Cup stage in Fort Benning, USA on May 6, 2013.
The gold medal seemed to open a door for the young shooter. Yang reaped golds in two ISSF World Cup stages and the World Cup Final in 2013.
When asked about any secrets to his success in the sport, Yang’s quiet demeanor shines through. He replies: “nothing special,” or “just hard work.”
The reporters for the ISSF official website have even tagged him as a “quiet Chinese dream,” saying his lack of words portrays a mix of shyness and humility.
Yang’s status as a rising star is as well known as his quiet demeanor. Yang has won just every major international title since 2013, such as the Asian Shooting Championship (Teheran 2013) and the Asian Games (Incheon 2014); the ISSF World Cup (Munich 2014), the World Cup Final (Munich 2013), the World Championship (Granada 2014); and the Youth Olympic Games (Nanjing 2014).
There’s only one thing Yang lacks: an Olympic gold.
Yang finished a disappointing 31st at last year’s Rio Olympics, but that has not stopped his drive to chase an Olympic gold medal.
“I do not think my experience in the Rio Games was a setback. It made me more mature actually,” says Yang.
Yang started shooting in 2008, eight years after Cai Yalin won the Olympic gold in 10m air rifle in Sydney. Cai became Yang’s coach a few years later, and they have worked together toward Yang’s Olympic aspirations ever since.
“Boring as shooting is, it is truly a sport that can make you feel like family. Love shooting as always,” writes Yang on Friday on his personal WeChat page, a Chinese social messaging app.
Even though he is just 21 years old, Yang is already a seasoned shooter, and can even deal with some tricky questions.
“As I can’t afford to buy land, I will continue training for the 2020 Games,” smiles Yang, joking about the surging real estate prices in China.
Yang repeatedly says that he felt lucky to win, and once joked that he might have to become a farmer after his Rio experience.
“The inclusion of new event does not matter for me. I still need to train a lot in order to win medal,” says Yang.
The 10 m air pistol mixed team, the 10m air rifle mixed team and trap mixed team events have been ratified to be included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on June 9, 2017 under the recommendation of the sport’s world governing body ISSF.
I do not think my experience in the Rio Games was a setback. It made me more mature actually.”
Yang Haoran nailed golds in the men’s 10m air rifle and the 50m rifle 3 positions at the 13th Chinese National Games.
Yang set a new national record with 1,189 points in the men’s 50m rifle 3p qualification round.