Youth Olympic Champion returns to international competition

4 October 2017
Rosario (ARG)
Rosario is Li Jiaman’s first international competition since she won Nanjing 2014.

Youth Olympic Champion Li Jiaman hadn’t been seen on the world stage since walking away with her pair of gold medals – individual and mixed pair – at Nanjing 2014. Back on the line at the 2017 World Archery Youth Championships in Rosario, Argentina, and now shooting as a junior, she returns a matured athlete.

“The gold medal at the Youth Olympics gave me the encouragement to continue practising and working,” said Li. 

“Over the past three years I’ve been training hard to keep improving my level, I’ve been shooting national tournaments in China and this year we had our national games, which are always very important for us.”

Li shot at the cadet worlds in Legnica in 2011 and Wuxi in 2013, a European Grand Prix that same year and the Youth Olympics on home soil.

She missed the World Archery Youth Championships in 2015 and, though a junior in Rosario, is adamant she wants to be representing China on the senior circuit sooner rather than later.

“I want to make the team and shoot at [Hyundai Archery] World Cup stages and work towards my biggest dream in the sport which is making it to Tokyo in 2020,” said Li.

“I want to go to Tokyo and win, but I first need to qualify and secure my place. For the moment, events like this youth championships are helping me to perform as I will need.”

Only 20 years of age, Li said she saw herself as a rolemodel for her teammates, Long Xiaoqing and Xu Zhiyun, in Rosario.

“I try to help them with the difficulties that you can experience during competition. I try to explain them how to read the wind, how to breathe properly and help them with any doubts they have,” she explained.

Jiaman seeded 21st in qualification at Rosario with 632 out of a possible 720 points for the 70-metre ranking round.

Whether results in Rosario fall her way, Li’s journey to the senior squad seems near to complete. She’ll shoot in Dhaka, Bangladesh at the Asian Championships in November with China’s main team:

“I won’t stop. I’ll keep training until I become the best I can be.”

The 2017 World Archery Youth Championships run 2 to 10 October in Rosario, Argentina.