Body & Sports

China's 14-year-old golf star Yan Jing eyes 2016 Rio Olympics

Updated: 2011-01-06
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China’s 14yo golf star Yan Jing
January 4 - China is hoping to use the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to give a serious boost to women's golf in the country with much of the focus centred on Yan Jing, the 14-year-old who won two silver medals at last year's Asian Games in Guangzhou.
The teenager was compared to Michelle Wie after shooting a spectacular 69 on the final day in Guangzhou and then winning the individual silver in a play-off.
Yan was also part of the Chinese squad that won silver medals in the team event and is already being touted as the country's best hope for a medal when golf is reintroduced to the Olympics after a 112 year absence in Rio.
'I will be 20 years old when the 2016 Olympics come around,' said Yan, the daughter of Yan Ming, a former ESPN golf commentator.

'I aim to participate in the Olympics representing China but I know anything can happen in the next six years. I'll try my best. '
'We'll see.'
The two women's medals in the Asian Games have historic significance claimed Zhang Xiaoning, director of the Multi-Ball Administrative Centre.
'This achievement has demonstrated our breakthrough in women's golf,' he said.
'It strengthens our confidence for the higher goal.'
'It also reaffirms that the state-supported mechanism of developing sports in combination with market forces is the right way to go.'
China currently lags a long way behind the women's game in South Korea - which has five players in the world's top 10 - acknowledged China Golf Association Commissioner Li Hong.
'Three years ago the number of registered women's pros in South Korea was over 1,300,' Li said.
'Every year there are 400 amateurs taking professional qualifying tests. '
'From this mass base of pros, only 200 are selected to participate in top-notch Korea LPGA events through competition.'
'Whereas in China, we only have 100 registered pros and the number of frequent players is only 50. '
'The gap is quite large.'
But China is investing more in its female golfers than male and Li believes state sponsorship will slash the gap between China and South Korea.
'Three years ago, Yan Jing was spotted by the China Golf Association because of her performance at the China LPGA,' she said.
'After two years' intense training in the national team, her skills have greatly improved and finally she won silver at Guangzhou.'
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