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Fencing: Li Na wins inspiring gold for son

2011-10-17 10:41:00 Xinhuanet

CATANIA, Italy, October 14 (Xinhua) -- Li Na hobbled into the medical room, her right leg cramping, to let the news sink in -- she still had to convince herself that she had won the World Championships gold in women's epee.

The 30-year-old beat her teammate Sun Yujie 13-7 in an all-Chinese final on Thursday night to win her first ever individual World Championships title.

"To be honest, I did not expect to win the gold when I came here. I thought my form was not good," she said.

"It is a dream come true, it justifies my pursuit of meaningfulness - to make my comeback from retirement something meaningful," she said.

Li retired after Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, and came back early this year after giving birth to a boy.

She found herself matured up upon returning to the national team.

"Yes I came back a mentally changed person," she said.

"I weaned my son off when he was just one year old, and I had to leave my family to train and travel. This was really hard for a mother."

"What should I come back for? I used to ask myself this question. I should come back for something meaningful, to fulfil a responsibility for myself, for my family, especially for my son."

"Now I can tell him it pays to make so much sacrifice.I can tell him my story with this inspiring gold. This is a precious gift I earned for him," she said.

Li Na's story lacks no dramas, especially in the semi-final against Anca Maroiu of Romania.

After leading by 9-6, she lost six points in a row and fell behind by three points with only 20 seconds to go.

"I felt some urgency and had to do nothing but take risks," she recalled.

She nearly threw herself at Maroiu and won two points back in a flash. At one point she jumped up and arched herself to reach over with her instrument.

"I had to do something unusual to surprise her. She did not expect I could jump into the air and attack from there. It worked as I got one point," she said.

But the Romanian fencer struck another point to lead by 13-11.

Li was left with only four seconds. And she miraculously made it 13-13 with another two frantic strikes.

When the crowd were yelling in disbelief, Li was pounding the floor in celebration. She had won the roller-coaster match as the judge ruled that she was the "positive attacker" to win despite a tied score.

"I was amazed that I could win the match in such a dramatic way," she said.

"It's deja vu as five years ago in Turin I did the same - won two points in four seconds - to help win the World Championships team event gold."

"So long as you try, anything could be possible. This is what I wish to pass on to my son," she said.

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