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Haiquan Fang left the sandpit, immediately looking back at the mark he had left. When he realized the mark was past the 7.80-meter mark, he knew he had won.
Gang Yang's mark was 7.79 meters. Even if Haiquan Fang had only jumped 7.80 meters, he still would have defeated Gang Yang. Anything over 7.80 meters was just icing on the cake.
Haiquan Fang did not care about the surveyor, nor his actual grade. He raised his arms in the air, cheering excitingly, "I won! I won! I did it!"
The delight of victory engulfed him. It was his first time participating in such a big competition, as well as his first time facing such a difficult situation. He had finally won, which made him realize that the victory did not come easily.
"Here come the results... 7.84 meters! He is only 16-years-old! What a genius! He is truly a gifted long jumper!"
"He will surely be recruited to the national team with this outstanding performance. Few people can join the national team at sixteen. He might be the next Feixiang Lin."
"If I'm right, the Hanbei's provincial record for the U18 level was 7.81 meters. He just broke the provincial record!"
"He has done a lot more than that. The U16 national record was 7.80 meters. He broke the national record. This means that among 16-year-olds he is the best in the country."
"A provincial U18 record and a national U16 record. He has broken two records at once."
The crowd was full of youth team coaches. They knew well about the existing records, which was why they were speaking with great familiarity.
"It is a pity that he was not in a national competition, otherwise he could have directly applied to be a National Sports Master!" someone said with sympathy.
The standard score for a National Sports Master in the long jump was 7.80 meters. Haiquan Fang had reached the grade. But the requirement for a National Sports Master was that the athlete must reach the standard in a national Grand Prix, championship, or nationally integrated game. Provincial integrated games did not meet those criteria, so it could only grant a National First Class Athlete evaluation.
"I did not expect to have such a genius in the Hanbei Province. I thought that guy from the Yuzhou team was going to win! But he was beaten at the last second," a man said, turning to Shouliang Zhao.
Shouliang Zhao was in shock. He looked like he was on the verge of breaking down.
I lost the competition! How did I fail! We jumped 7.79 meters! That is impossible!
Shouliang Zhao's mind replayed the scene he had experienced two years ago. He had been a professional athletic coach looking to cause trouble for a college student, but was defeated in the end. He had fled in disgrace. That year, he had made himself open to ridicule.
Two years later, the same scene had happened again. Shouliang Zhao had just sent a 22-year-old athlete, who was defeated by a 16-year-old. It was identical to what had happened with his sports training class two years ago; His best standing long-jumper had been defeated by Dai Li's fattest student.
Again, he had had the game in his hands, yet once again he had failed one step short of success. On top of that, his opponent had broken two records at once, which was a dominant victory. Zhao was not able to find any excuses to comfort himself. Such fierce ups and downs had destroyed Shouliang Zhao's pride instantly.
However, the other coaches did not know that Shouliang Zhao had once been defeated by the same person. They simply thought that he could not bear to witness today's failure.
"Yuzhou's coach does not look right. Why is he so disappointed?"
"It is just a game, no need to take it that seriously. He looks like he has just seen a ghost."
"This Coach Zhao from the Yuzhou Team is in his forties, he should be an experienced coach. How can he not bear a tiny blow like this?"
"At least he has a silver medal. If the second place finished looks like this, then what about those of us who did not win anything? Should we kill ourselves?"
"Hey, at least your athlete was in the final! Mine was eliminated early in the qualifying session. If you have to commit suicide, what about me? My dead body would be whipped for days!"
"Well, it is no big deal. That is how sports are. There can only be one champion; someone wins, the others lose. Besides, we lost to a genius. It is nothing to be ashamed of."
7.79 meters is my best performance, how could I have lost! Gang Yang could not believe what he had experienced. A minute ago, he had been celebrating his upcoming victory; one minute later, someone had taken it from him. He had fallen from heaven to hell in such a short period of time. It was unbearable. The worst thing about it was that the person who had defeated him was only 16-years-old!
7.84 meters, even for adult competitions, was a score only national first class athletes could achieve. By the youth game's standard, it was an extraordinary achievement, which shocked Gang Yang greatly.
Although his "age" for this competition was eighteen, he was actually twenty-two. The difference between twenty-two and sixteen was similar to the difference between a senior in college and a freshman in high school. Consider this: how bad would a senior college student feel if he was outperformed in his major by a freshman in high school? His confidence would be destroyed.
"He is a genius!"
"He is a natural long jumper!"
"A 16-year-old gifted boy!"
Unwilling to hear all the praise for the champion, Gang Yang was terribly upset.
He recalled that when he was a little boy, he, too, had been regarded as a gifted long jumper. Every time in PE class, when kids were assessed in the long jump, nobody could jump better than him. Because of this, he had gained much admiration.
Later, he began practicing the long jump formally. Once he joined the Juvenile Team, he met many similar children, as well as some better ones. On the Juvenile Team, although he had lost his "genius" title, he still remained at the top.
From there he went to the Youth Team. It was during that period of time that he found there were many outstanding athletes, and that he was only on the first tier. It was also on the Youth Team that he said goodbye to his "genius" title.
Gradually, Gang Yang learned the importance of talent. On the team, everyone was hard-working and focused on training, but due to the difference in talent, the gaps among the athletes were made more apparent.
Gang Yang also knew the importance of age. Two athletes with the same score, but one was eighteen while the other was twenty. Which one would a coach pay more attention to? Apparently, the answer was the younger one.
As he grew older, Gang Yang got less chances. Younger athletes emerged like mushrooms after rain; they took many opportunities and resources from seniors like him.
Then, Gang Yang met Shouliang Zhao, who changed his age and made him four years younger. Zhao had also worked with him to become the "No. 1 long-jumper" on the Yuzhou Youth Team. Using his 20-year-old figure, he easily came out on top against the group of teenagers.
He had regained his "genius" title, but this time he hated it with a passion. He knew everything was fake, and that he was not a genius at all; he was a loser who had had to trick his way to success. From then on, he had always worried that one day his secret would be revealed, and that he would be thrown out from heaven by a real genius.
Today, that worry had finally come to full fruition. He had met a real genius, who had turned him back into an ordinary person, all while he was enjoying a victory!
A 22-year-old athlete with a 7.79 meter performance did not have much potential left. Even if he kept covering up his real age and went to the adult team, he would not be able to make much progress.
Should I keep burying my head in the sand? Gang Yang took a look at Haiquan Fang, who was celebrating his success. He knew that the boy was the real genius, and that he should be the one to continue walking on this path to become a good long jumper, not Gang Yang.
Maybe it's time to wake up and face the reality... sighed Gang Yang.
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