Mon, 27 Sep 2021

TOKYO, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Competing in her fourth Olympic Games, Gong Lijiao finally stood on the podium for the first time and on top of it.

"Becoming an Olympic champion was like a dream come true. I have imagined it a million times," Gong said after winning the women's shot put title at Tokyo 2020 on Sunday.

The four-time Olympian also made history as the victory, her first Olympic gold medal, also marked China's first Olympic gold in field events.

Gong set her personal best twice in the final, throwing 20.53 meters in the fifth round and 20.58m in her sixth attempt.

The 32-year-old got one silver and one bronze in Olympic Games prior to Tokyo. She initially finished fifth in the shot put at Beijing 2008 but upgraded to the bronze medal position in 2019 after two athletes ahead of her were disqualified for anti-doping rule violations.

At London 2012, she initially finished fourth but was promoted to the bronze medal position, and subsequently to the silver medal position in August 2016, following the disqualification of two athletes who finished ahead of her due to anti-doping rule violations.

"Today, I not only mounted the podium but standing on the top of it. I felt that all my efforts, my persistence, were all worthy," Gong burst into tears in the mixed zone.

"I was pretty nervous for the first three throws, but after the last two throws, I just relaxed. When I got 20.53m I felt like I could win the gold medal, I was pretty sure that the championship was mine," said Gong.

"This gold medal is not only for myself, it's for all of my country, for the people who supported me, especially my parents, who have never put pressure on me, just let me do whatever I want," she added.

Gong has been training shot put for 21 years. She said the hardest part in her career was when she heard about the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, which did a further blow to her gloomy days troubled by injuries.

"I would listen to some old songs when I was exhausted, like 'Courage' by Malaysian singer Fish Leong. Courage was exactly what I needed in my darkest time," she said.

"I couldn't sleep last night, just kept thinking about how to make a perfect throw, again and again. Now, my life is perfect. I have got what I have been missing, the gold medal," said Gong with relief.

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