This amputee who used a basketball to walk is now an Olympic athlete

Determination is such a thing that it helps you overcome obstacles beyond your abilities to do so. An inspiration to many is the story of a double amputee who uses a basketball to walk. Qian Hongyan from Yunnan province in Southwestern China survived a near fatal accident when she was 4 years old.

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Qian Hongyan was hit by a truck in her hometown of Luliang County. Although she lived through her ordeal doctors had no option but to amputate both her legs. The little girl’s perseverance to be active and mobile using just a basketball is a beautiful example of courage, grit and the triumph of the human spirit.

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1 Too poor to purchase prosthetics

Qian Hongyan’s family was too poor to purchase prosthesis or undergo rehabilitation. Her Grandfather fashioned a device out of a basketball which allowed her to move around smoothly using her hands. Along with paddles she learned to walk again.

Qian Hongyan

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2 The local basketball girl

Qian soon became a local celebrity where this double amputee used a basketball to walk. She became known as the basketball girl. By 2005, she attracted the attention of an international audience.

Qian’s fame acquired her several donors who sponsored her with prosthetic legs.

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The local basketball girl

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3 Her first exposure to national swimming

Qian soon travelled to Beijing in 2007 where she joined a swimming team meant for disabled teens called “South of the Cloud”. Although she found it difficult at first, she drew inspiration from participants of the Paralympics games in China which motivated her to strive on.

Her first exposure to national swimming

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4 The first major step closer to her dreams

In 2009 Qian became the national Paralympics’ champion in a swimming event. Her continuous training paid off when she won gold in the 100 meter breaststroke in the Yunnan Provincial Paralympics Games. In 2016 she competed in the Rio Paralympics games.

Qian became the national Paralympics’ champion in a swimming

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5 A national inspiration for the disabled

Qian may not have made it to the finals in her event at Rio but for her, reaching Rio was an achievement. Qian’s story of the amputee who used a basketball to walk has been an inspiration for many.

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Not only has she motivated many disabled to follow their dreams but has attracted a lot of attention and focus on the subject of disability and the challenges face by handicapped people in China. You can watch her competing in the 100 meters breast stroke below.

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