China’s “Basketball Girl” Reaches New Heights

When you hear someone called “basketball girl”, surely the first thing to come to mind is a girl who plays the game really well. However this is not the case for Qian Hongyan, of Yunnan, China.

When she was young, a truck had hit her -- crushing her legs and resulting to them being cut off. Because she came from a poor family, her parents decided to cut a basketball in half and use it as a makeshift prosthetic limb. Using two pieces of wood, she balances herself on her basketball “leg” and goes out to play with other kids.

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It was back in 2005 when someone noticed the girl happily playing while bouncing around on half a basketball. “Basketball girl” quickly became an Internet sensation, as her story was shared. This resulted in a flood of donations.

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In 2007, a 12-year-old Qian was equipped with prosthetic legs. The family still struggled, but the girl led the way -- showing everyone that nothing should prevent you from reaching your dreams.

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Qian soon joined a swimming club, where she discovered a hidden talent. Despite encountering lots of difficulties, she turned out to be good at swimming!

With her optimistic outlook, she eventually made it as a champion swimmer. From there, she has her eyes set on the Paralympic Games, where she wishes to one day compete.

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China’s “Basketball Girl” has gone a long way from her humble origins, but she is not stopping. She serves as an inspiration to everyone she meets, and those who read about her story.

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Photos: REUTERS/Jason Lee


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