Chinese amazonian athlete recalls her military pentathlon glory
Wang Lianying /CGTN Photo

Wang Lianying /CGTN Photo

Wang Lianying, born in northern China's Hebei Province, joined the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in 1985 and became a modern pentathlete who was once crowned the national champion.

When the International Military Sports Council (CISM) was set to hold the 2nd women's military pentathlon championship in 1992, the PLA decided to launch a team to participate. The "queen" of the modern pentathlon in China chose to challenge herself by delving into a new sport and got training at the August 1st Military Pentathlon Women's Team.  

The military pentathlon covers shooting, obstacle events (running and swimming), throwing and cross-country running that challenge soldier-athletes' strength. The sport, created in 1946 by a French officer, Captain Henri Debrus (later promoted to colonel and president of the CISM), and originally reserved exclusively for the army, is now a platform for countries to show their military glamour.  

It wasn't easy at the start for Wang. Her elbows, back, knees, hands and feet were often worn out after practicing the obstacle run. Even though her wounds had not fully healed, she still jumped into the water for training.   

"My training made her cry many times and she softened my heart," said Wu Jianzhu, Wang's coach at the time.

Wang Lianying claimed three consecutive CISM world military pentathlon championships. /China Military Photo

Wang Lianying claimed three consecutive CISM world military pentathlon championships. /China Military Photo

Together with her teammates, the then 22-year-old Wang traveled to the CISM World Military Championships in Munich in September 1992 – the first time Chinese female soldiers participated in international military sports. Wang won a silver medal and the team clinched the group championship.

She was not satisfied with her individual performance and teammates recalled she had few smiles. "It's a victory to win the championship on the field and the runner-up represents failure," explained Wang.    

After that, she decided to imitate the technical movements of male athletes. When across the two-meter-high Irish table, she took the muscle-up over the obstacle and her scores improved as a result. 

November 1, 1994 was a day Wang would never forget. She broke the shooting world record kept by Danish player with 199 points at the 42nd Military Pentathlon World Championships and went on to claim the individual title as well as the group crown with her colleagues.  

Four years later, Wang rewrote her personal world record and also became the first female athlete to grab five consecutive championships in the history of CISM World Military Pentathlon Championships.    

"Praise comes via hard work, respect via strength," said the Chinese amazonian woman, now the deputy chief of the PLA's athletics team.