Wan Liyuan of China competes during the women's 3x3 basketball bronze medal game between China and France at Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, Japan, July 28, 2021. [Photo/VCG]
After years of waiting for a team sports medal in Olympic basketball, the Chinese women's 3X3 basketball team delivered a bronze medal on July 28, defeating France 16-14 at Japan's Aomi Urban Sports Park.
China began the game with a 4-1 run, before France turned the deficit into a 10-6 lead. China then clawed back to tie the game at 11-11 before going on a decisive 9-2 run to best France for their second victory on Day 2.
Winning a medal at the Olympic debut of 3x3 basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, 19-year-old Shaoxing athlete Wan Jiyuan couldn't hide her excitement at becoming part of the history.
The last time China won an Olympic medal in basketball was at the 1992 Barcelona Games when the women's team won a silver medal.
Wan was born in Heilongjiang province in 2002 and enrolled at a basketball school in Shaoxing's county-level city Zhuji, host city of the 2020-21 season of the Chinese Basketball Association. "She had good physical coordination and an easygoing character," said Guo Qunlan, a teacher at the school.
In 2013, Wan was recommended to the Zhejiang Provincial Women's Basketball Team. Coach Yin Caiping said that Wan initially was "slow and had an ordinary feel for the game," but she worked hard and improved fast.
In 2018, Wan became one of the youngest players in the Women's Chinese Basketball Association and gradually became the starting power forward on her team.
When preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Wan worked towards losing 5 kilograms in weight as 3x3 basketball is a more physically demanding sport with very fast switches between offense and defense.