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Chen Minyi is heading to Paris 2024 to defend her W1 individual Paralympic gold from Tokyo 2020 ⒸLintao Zhang/Getty Images

Para archery champion Chen Minyi targets world record (Paris 2024)

It is time to take out the bead bracelet, turn on the mood music, and relax. Two-time Paralympic archery champion Chen Minyi accepts that the pressure will be on when she defends her W1 individual gold medal at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. 

That has not prevented her from setting an ambitious target. Not only does Chen want to repeat her gold medal feat, but she also intends to break her own Games world record of 142, scored in the final win against Sarka Musilova. 

Musical therapy  

“I usually enjoy listening to music to relieve my emotions,” Chen revealed. “While listening to music, I play my beads bracelet and feel very relaxed. 

“I feel that, as a Paralympic champion, the pressure will be greater because this limit has been exceeded and you can only go to the next level to be worthy of the title of Paralympic champion.  

“I think there is still room for improvement, and I will take breaking my record as my goal.” 

Minyi and partner Zhang Tianjin won China’s first Para archery medal at Tokyo 2020 in the team event before Minyi then took gold in the individual. 

Focus on Paris  

Now the focus is very much on Paris with the Tokyo gongs consigned to history, for now. 

“I put the medals in the drawer and look at them when I go home which is not very frequently. They are the past.” 

Looking back, Minyi, who has a congenital disease that affects the lower limbs, recalls how she suffered from nerves before the team match in Tokyo. 

“My goal was to finish in the top three. Winning the medals was actually an unexpected gain for me. When I returned home I was warmly welcomed by local people. They celebrated my victory.  

“I was very nervous to play in the team competition because my coach Cai Jianbing was not on the field. I was distracted, so I kept missing the target and was still in a passive state until the end of the game. 

“Fortunately, coach Cai has been cheering for me in the audience, giving me courage and peace of mind. So, I was able to turn over. When I stood on the podium, I was particularly proud of myself. 

“I think the team competition was more difficult because it was my first time working with Tianxin. At that time, I also felt his tense breath on the field. 

“We cheered each other on, when I missed the target, and he didn’t get discouraged. Instead, he charged forward. We co-operated well.”  

Looking forwards 

It is all about the future now, with the countdown to Paris well underway. Chen has had mixed fortunes this year but was able to enjoy winning gold at the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou in front of her close friends. 

“This year has indeed been a busy year. During this year, I have gained and lost. Fortunately, I have qualified for the Paris Paralympic Games. I lost in some games where I should not have lost, which made me a bit upset.  

“Playing at home makes me feel particularly happy. Not only is communication convenient but it also allows foreign friends to experience our Chinese culture.” 

Chen made her international debut in 2011 so it has been a wait for the rewards. 

“The archery coach thought I had potential, and I wanted to give it a try. I never tried any other sports. I also thought about giving up but with a spirit of perseverance I didn’t give up and walked on.” 

Plans for the next few months have been put into place too with Chen preparing for Paris. 

“From now on, I will train more systematically, discuss my problems and shortcomings with the coach, and solve the problems more clearly to achieve the best condition.” 

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