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"Forfeit the fifth trial jump!" Dai Li said directly without raising his head.
Haiquan Fang clenched his teeth and held back the urge to return to the match.
If an unfamiliar coach had asked him to hold back, Haiquan Fang was so stubborn that he might have kicked the coach away. However, the one who was speaking to him was Dai Li, the first coach Haiquan Fang had had when he became a professional athlete. Out of the reverence and respect he had for Dai Li, Haiquan Fang had to hold back.
"Haiquan, I still remember that when I first met you, you told me you liked the long jump and the feeling of flying in the air," Dai Li said as he raised his head, "Now your goal has been achieved; you are a professional long jump athlete and you have been admitted to the national team. You practice the long jump every day. Is it boring?"
Haiquan Fang pondered a moment, then said, "Sometimes it is a little bit boring. Every day I keep jumping, and it gets boring. But on the national team, everyone is like this."
"Yes. On the national team, everyone is working hard; everyone is longing for victory and championships!" Dai Li paused, then asked, "Haiquan, do you want be a champion?"
"Of course!" Haiquan Fang answered without any hesitation.
"Why?" Dai Li continued to ask.
Haiquan Fang was speechless. He could not answer the question, for he had never thought about why he needed a championship.
"You don't have an answer?" Dai Li changed the topic and asked, "Do you remember the Provincial Youth Games? You defeated Gang Yang on the last jump and won the championship. Was the feeling wonderful?
"Now, for the second time, you only have one jump left again, and your opponent has taken the lead, just like in those Youth Games." Dai Li stopped his massage and said, "You like the feeling of flying in the air, but you should get more enjoyment from the sense of accomplishment that comes from defeating your opponents! Think about it; when you defeat strong opponents one after another, do you have an indescribable sense of satisfaction in your heart? Really think; when you are standing on the top of the winner's podium, is the feeling wonderful?"
"Sometimes you don't need a reason to pursue victory." As Dai Li said this, he picked up a low-temperature analgesic spray and sprayed it on Haiquan Fang's leg.
"OK, go and get yourself prepared for the last trial jump. Go and defeat your opponent!" Dai Li helped Haiquan Fang stand up and watched him walk to the preparation area.
"Go and fly!" Dai Li murmured to himself.
Sardo stood in the run-up area for the 6th time.
He looked quite relaxed and excited. He forced himself to be serious, but still could not hide the joy he was feeling.
Sardo's score of 8.11 meters still ranked 1st, and this was only the trial jump. Another six players before him had failed to surpass him. Sardo thought the gold medal was already his.
As for Haiquan Fang, who had gone last, Sardo had already forgotten about him. Haiquan Fang had forfeited three trial jumps, so Sardo thought Haiquan Fang had given up.
As long as I finish this jump, I will be the champion. Sardo took a deep breath and concentrated all his attention on the jump, then began his run-up.
Take off, flight, landing… Sardo finished all the movements in one motion and landed steadily at the 8-meter line. Although this trial jump had not surpassed his best score, it was still a successful trial jump.
Sardo raised his hands in celebration as he walked out of the sandpit. At the same time, deafening cheers burst out of the grandstand.
"Thank you! Thank you all!" Sardo was very happy; he had not expected the audience to be so enthusiastic in congratulating his win. Sardo's face was filled with a winner's smile. He waved to the grandstand and posed with a handsome gesture so that a reporter could take his picture. To Sardo's surprise, however, all the reporters were still in the interview preparation area, and nobody had approached him.
These reporters are so unprofessional! Don't they know they should take pictures of the champion and interview him? As Sardo complained to himself, he turned around to wave to the grandstand on the other side. As he turned around, however, he saw an athlete standing in the run-up area.
It's him; the guy that was injured in the second trial jump. How could he return to the match? Sardo's expression suddenly changed.
At this moment, Sardo finally realized the reason for the resounding cheers and applause that had burst from the grandstand. The audiences weren't celebrating his lead, but the return of their host city athlete. The reporters had not come to take pictures of him because the match had not finished yet.
You are back, so what? You only have one trial jump left, and you are injured. You have no chance at all. Sardo curled his lip disdainfully.
The return of an injured athlete who had limped out of the playing area deserved the applause of the audience. Moreover, as an athlete from the host city, the return of Haiquan Fang triggered the deafening cheers of the audiences.
Standing on the track of the run-up area, Haiquan Fang's ears were filled with the thunderous cheers of the audience. Suddenly he felt a sense of responsibility.
They are cheering for me! They are encouraging me! Haiquan Fang looked at the scoreboard unconsciously. The score of 8.11 meters on the top caught his eyes immediately.
The sense of accomplishment comes from the defeat of opponents! Haiquan Fang suddenly felt like his heart was filled with strong sense of expectation.
I managed to return to the match to surpass him; to surpass everyone! Haiquan Fang's eyes were filled with resolution
He began his run-up by completely ignoring his leg injury. In fact, Haiquan Fang had forgotten his injury altogether in that moment. His foot stepped on the take-off board, and when the judge raised the white flag, he sprung into the air.
Haiquan Fang had used up all his strength for this one jump. Haiquan Fang was really flying like a bird.
Just fly! Dai Li said to himself again, hopeful.
Tens of thousands of pairs of eyes in the stadium were fixed on Haiquan Fang. All Haiquan Fang saw, however, was the blue sky.
The sky is so beautiful! Suddenly, Haiquan Fang calmed down. This was the feeling of flying in the air, which was his favorite feeling.
The next moment, he looked into the distance and noticed the 8-meter line next to the sandpit in the corner of his eye.
I will fly over it! This was the only conviction left in Haiquan Fang's heart, who started to extend his legs forward strenuously.
I can fly even farther! Haiquan Fang kept his balance. He tried to keep his body in the air as long as possible.
Finally, Haiquan Fang landed in sandpit and left a clear mark in the sand.
"What is the result?" All the coaches of the national team stretched out their necks and looked at the mark that had been left in the sandpit.
"It is over 8.10 meters! He has a chance!" The long jump coach was the first to roar.
The game official announced the score soon after. Haiquan Fang's score for his last jump was 8.13 meters.
"8.13 meters! We won! We have won the match! Haiquan has won! His last jump was a buzzer beater!"
Buzzer beater! This thought jumped into Sardo's mind. He really could not believe what was happening in front of his eyes. One minute ago, he had still been celebrating his victory; in one minute, however, his gold medal had turned into a silver medal.
Haiquan Fang was looking at the scoreboard next to the playing area. The top score had been changed from Sardo's 8.11 meters to his 8.13 meters.
What Coach Li said was right. It is a great sense of accomplishment to defeat the opponent!
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