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Rio Paralympics: Table tennis helps Wenchuan Quake victim regain confidence


09-15-2016 15:59 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Paralympic Games

There are 308 competitors taking part in the table tennis events at the Rio Paralympics, including Wang Rui, a participant in the SF7 category. The 23-year-old native of China's Sichuan Province lost her leg during the devastating 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, but found a new zeal for life after tirning to the ball and paddle sport.

Wang Rui

Wang Rui

Everything changed for Wang Rui eight years ago. The date was May 12th, 2008, and she was in class studying to prepare for her high school entrance examination, when the floor suddenly started shaking.

"The moment I hid myself under the table, our whole school collapsed. I was buried in the rubble, waiting for the rescuers to save me, and I was finally saved after 10 hours," she said.

The damage to the muscles in the comatose Wang's right leg was irrepairable, and three days after the accident, the doctors had to amputate the limb. After waking up, the tee nager had an extremely hard time dealing with her new situation.

"I couldn't take it at that time. I could not even dare to leave my house, and seldom communicated with others. It is table tennis which helped me at that time. After playing table tennis for a while, I won several competitions at that time, which greatly boosted my confidence. Many of my classmate died during that earthquake, and I gradually realized that I am lucky that I am still alive," she said.

Paralympic table tennis athletes are grouped into 10 categories, with Wang competing in the SF7 division. She embarked on a schedule requiring eight hours of training per day to prepare for the event, but during her time off, the aspiring designer nurtures another dream.

"The clothes we buy in shopping malls often don't suit us. For someone like me, when I buy jeans, my limb won't fit perfectly, so I hope I can design clothing suitable for amputees like us to wear," she said.

The 2014 Incheon Para Games champion has been training under professional coaches for just six years, and despite losing to a French opponent in Rio, Wang is confident that she will achieve better results at the next Paralympics.

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