Li won the women’s discus gold medal with a throw of 66.52 meters at the World Athletics Championships.
“I have been waiting for this result for a long time, so I’m very excited about it,” said Li, who also has the longest throw in the world this season at 67.98.
“The championship is a reward for me because it’s not easy for me to hold on doing it for so many years.”
In the final, Li secured the lead with her second attempt, beating Nadine Muller of Germany at 65.97 and Yarelis Barrios of Cuba at 65.73.
Li became China’s first world champion in the event. Her road was not easy.
Picking up the sport in 1994, she was selected to China’s national team in 2003, winning the Asian title that same year.
“I have trained for the discus throw for more than 10 years and I like it very much,” said the 32-year-old Li.
“Although I have to move within the 2.5m-diameter throwing ring, I like the spinning and the pitch arc I made while throwing. I always dreamed of being the best, and I achieved it today.”
In 2005, Li suffered a serious injury to her right wrist, which almost ended her career. She didn’t finish that year’s National Games, and missed the whole next season.
“The team doctor and my friends gave me great support when I got a serious injury in 2005,” said Li. “Now everything goes well with me and my lucky era should have come.”
Since 2007, her fortunes have improved. She finished third at the 2007 National Championships and won the National Games in 2009 with throw of 66.40, her personal best at that time. In 2010, she won the gold medal at the Asian Games.
“I got another injury before the 2009 National Games and I used to think about retirement,” Li said. “But my injury was fully recovered in September 2009 with the help of my family and coaches, and I had good preparation for the National Game. Throwing events don’t require athletes to be young, so I believe I can still improve. I will keep on working hard.”
Now, Li can look ahead to the Olympics.
“I will start to expect the Olympic Games and I believe in myself,” she said. “I hope I can train well in the following days and achieve good results at the London Games.”