Finals 10m Air Rifle Men

Spotlight on Youth | Yang, a quiet Chinese Dream

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol / Shotgun · Munich, GER

China's 18-year-old Yang Haoran wins and makes things look easy. He told us about that

June 8th, 2014. Munich, Germany. Yang Haoran has just fired the last shot of the 10m Air Rifle Men event. The Final Hall is packed with people standing and clapping and cheering loudly. The 18-year-old of China calmly turns his eyes to the scoreboard, just to make sure that everything went right. Everything went right. Yang has won the gold medal. And set a new junior world record. Yang's expression doesn't really change.


We talk to him after the award ceremony. An interpreter is helping us to get through the interview, because Yang doesn't speak English. But he's working on it. “I'm learning,” he says. “I'm trying to make some advancements.”


You may think that must be hard, getting into English as a Chinese-speaking. But – as it turns out – that is one of those things Yang Haoran does without much fretting and worrying and anxiety – like winning medals and setting records. “It's just not that difficult. If one is determined to learn it well, it will not be difficult.”


Yes, Yang definitely looks determined. How do you think he's spent the 12 months between last season's gold and this year's? “I just sticked to it. The hard training, accumulating experiences. I kept doing the same.” Which kind of tells everything about him – in all its sheer firmness.


And it all comes back when we ask him about the Nanjing Youth Olympics. What difference will being in his home country make? “Nothing,” he answers politely. “It's all the same. All the difference is the time difference.” He allows for that.

Like an American – Yang is better at doing things than talking about them. What does he do when he's not at the range? He's studying, Management, and it's going well. It took us some questions to get to it. What he'd answer at first – of course – was just “Nothing special,” two words which put him somewhere between shyness and humility (but closer to the latter).

You can guess what's next for Yang, now. “I will do more training to get more experience,” he says. “For big competitions and good results.”


We could use emphatic words to describe the first seasonal gold of an 18-year-old. Since Yang may be reading this, though, we should probably just stick to his plain essentiality – which comes directly from his simple words: “This is a good start.”

Chinese dreams are like American ones. Just a lot quieter.

Alessandro Ceschi


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