Yu Lihua: Devoted shooting coach from Suichang
Yu Lihua [Photo/zjol.com.cn]
Soon after the opening of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Yang Qian from the city of Ningbo in East China's Zhejiang province won two gold medals at the 10-meter Air Rifle Women and in the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team.
Yu Lihua, Yang's first shooting coach at the Ningbo Sports School, is from Suichang county, which is administered by Lishui city in Zhejiang.
At the age of 15, Yu began training in by chance and subsequently became a professional shooter.
"I was a member of the school's track and field team," Yu said. Yu recalled that the coach of the Suichang shooting team came to the school to recruit students. His teacher encouraged him to give it a try. He then took the shooting test and was selected to join the Suichang shooting team.
In 1986, the Suichang shooting team was forced to disband due to various reasons.
In 1989, Chen Guoliang, then director of the Suichang Sports Committee, told Yu that the shooting team was to be reorganized and invited him to participate in the provincial championship. Yu agreed immediately and won the second place.
At that time, there was no coach in the team, so Chen had the idea of letting Yu be coach. "I was a fresh graduate and everyone was unoptimistic about me being a coach. It was on Director Chen's insistence and with his support that I took the first step in my coaching career," said Yu.
During his more than 30 years of teaching career, Yu's students have won more than 130 championships at and above the national level, including world champions such as Wang Chengyi, Zhang Chaoxuanzhu and Yang Qian.
Yu Lihua treats his students like his own children.
When Yang Qian was only 11 years old, after doing training she had to make three bus transfers and it took more than two hours to travel home on Saturdays. Knowing the situation, Yu took the initiative to take Yang Qian to the direct station every Saturday until Yang was 17.
"We were both busy at work and didn't have much time to take care of her. Fortunately, Coach Yu helped us a lot," said Yang's parents.
Yu has always had very fond thoughts about his hometown. "I hope that in the future I can dig out more talented shooters from Suichang," he said.