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Competitors and companions through fencing

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CNTV, December 17, 2010
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Long time rivals in women's fencing, Saysunee Jana of Thailand, and China's Yao Fang have similar stories to tell. Their message is one of courage and inspiration for many, and despite different cultures, the pair are united under one sporting spirit. Zhang Nini brings us more.

Saysunee Jana is Thailand's first woman Paralympic champion after winning in the epee individual category B in 2004.

The thirty six year old veteran lost both her legs in a car crash and has since taken up fencing. The sport helped her rehabilitate and now compete at international events. She thanks fencing for giving her a new dimension to her life.

Saysunee Jana, Wheelchair Fencer, said, "I like fencing. It's a challenge. I like the idea of fighting for life."

On numerous occasions, Jana has competed against Chinese athlete Yao Fang, who also shared the same tragedy. Yao is paralysed from the waist down due to a traffic accident in 1998. She rarely left her home for four years following the incident, but found sanctuary in sports.

Yao Fang, Wheelchair Fencer, said, "I had no idea of fencing in 2002 when I entered the Disabled People's Sports Center in Shanghai. But the sport has completely changed my life. I cherish this chance."

The two athletes first met in 2002 at the 8th FESPIC Games in Busan, that's when their friendship and competition started.

Yao defeated Jana in the quarter- finals in wheelchair fencing two years ago in the Beijing Paralympics. In the Guangzhou Asian Para Games, Yao Fang won a silver medal over Jana in the women's individual foil category B but lost to her in the epee competition.

"Thai wheelchair fencers are our strongest opponents. Jana is practically unbeatable in the epee competition. Her long arms give her the advantage." Yao Fang said.

Thailand's coach speaks highly of Yao Fang as a tough competitor.

Even though there are language barriers to overcome, Yao Fang and Saysunee Jana are friends through their love of fencing. They have each battled difficulties but now embrace life with confidence because of sport.


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