The year 2020 took many dramatic turns and is finally drawing to an end. The COVID-19 outbreak wrought havoc across the globe and brought many challenges and uncertainties in our daily lives. As we bid farewell to this unusual year, which words come to mind and what lessons have we learned?
In this episode of the "My 2020" video series, we are glad to invite Alex Hua Tian, China's star Olympic rider, to share his thoughts about 2020, his ways to deal with delayed competition seasons and his future training plans for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
At the age of 18, Hua became China's first equestrian Olympian at the 2008 Beijing Games, and remains the event's youngest participant in Olympic history. After missing out on London 2012, he bounced back to reach Rio 2016.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was postponed, which presented the Chinese equestrian team unprecedented challenges.
"For me, that's been the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, the disruption of the competition season, and the national lockdown of the UK," said Hua. "Horrified, sitting at home and watching world news as the coronavirus unfolds across the globe."
"It's disrupting everybody's lives... I was quite worried, and unsettled to not be 100 percent sure about the plan for the Olympic Games," said Hua.
But having come to terms with the initial disappointment of the setback, Hua has embraced his sport's redrawn landscape with a renewed sense of positivity.
He has kept himself busy training in Manchester for the past several months, even managing to continue, as the country is under a second lockdown.
Like all athletes, planning ahead remains problematic during the pandemic. However, Hua is staying optimistic about his Olympic preparations.
"The biggest thing for me is the travel restriction. I'm very used to flying back to home China once a month, normally for two or three days, seeing family and friends," said Hua. "I really miss food, friends, and the busy lifestyle in China."
One thing is for certain though, wherever he's based and whatever the circumstances, Hua's commitment to China's equestrian cause is never in doubt.
He also hoped that the Olympics could go ahead as planned in 2021, which would ignite people's hope at this difficult time.
"It will be wonderful for the world, if a global event of that size and significance occurs at this difficult time. Because it produces a chance for everyone to get together again, to celebrate sport and humanity," said Hua.
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(Produced by Han Xiaomeng and Yan Yiqiao; story written by Bai Yuanqi)