World Has Seen Photos Of 'Basketball Girl', But Not Many Know What She Achieved Later

Date July 16, 2018

We often encounter a phrase “Never give up” when watching a movie or reading a book. Chinese Qian Hongyan is this phrase in the flesh.


This girl’s story has become motivating and inspiring for thousands of disabled people all over the world. Hongyan lost both legs, but it didn’t stop her from achieving stunning results in sports and winning various competitions.


At the age of 4, Qian, from Yunnan, south-west China, had a traffic accident. Her legs had to be taken off, and as her family was very poor, prosthetic devices were a hopeless dream at that time.

I just remember when I woke up, my legs felt very cold. I said, 'Mum, put my shoes on for me,' but my mum didn't say anything. Her tears fell onto my face and I found that, for the rest of my life, I wouldn't have to wear socks, or shoes, or even pants again.

– Qian told in an interview.


First time after the operation, parents carried the girl, but later her grandfather found a different solution. He cut a basketball, put his granddaughter in it and gave her two wooden pads with handles.

Pictures of Qian have spread all over Chinese and later, foreign media. Soon, Hongyan gained a nickname 'basketball girl'. A 7-minute walk to school took her almost an hour. Qian has wore out 8 basketballs within 5 next years.

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 The girl finally received the precious prosthetics in 2007, thanks to the government support. Many local mass media watched her make first steps after the accident. Later, Qian decided to pick up swimming and to take part in the Paralympic Games.


I used to envy my classmates a lot. After school, they always went home running and jumping, and I couldn't do that. But when I'm in the water, I'm the same as them, and this is why I love swimming.

– she said.

Unfortunately, in 2012 Hongyan didn’t get to the Paralympics in London, but she didn’t give up and continued to train. In September next year, Qian received new prosthetics.

All that time she used to swim 6 miles a day and took part in local and national level competitions. In 2016, the girl finally got invited to the Paralympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

Paralympic Games / YouTube

Even though Qian didn’t win a medal, she was one of the ten best athletes. This is still not the limit for the young swimmer. The girl plans on taking part in Tokio Paralympic games in 2020.

Currently, Qian continues to train and is getting ready for new competitions. She is 21 now.

Power of will and dedication of this fragile girl is truly impressive and deserves admiration!

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