Extreme sports are not for the faint of heart, and in China it seems that it’s a field that’s always been enjoyed exclusively by foreigners, or to be more precise, foreign men. But one Chinese teenager is looking to shatter stereotypes and make a name for herself in that world. Her name is Chen Jingyue.
Born in Pingtan in coastal southeast China, a place known for its ideal conditions for kiteboarding, Chen got to know about the game for the first time in 2012, when the Kiteboard Tour Asia in China was held in Pingtan. She fell in love with the sport instantly, and went on to show great talent in it.
Kiteboarding was only introduced to China in 2007, and is completely new to most Chinese people. Her parents think that it is hard and dangerous, and is not a pursuit for girls. Like most Chinese parents, they want their child to do well in school and believe that girls should be docile, as Chinese women have been for much of history.
Instead of following the path her parents set for her, Chen believes that her destiny is in her own hands. For her, doing well in school is not the only path forward in life. Likewise, being gentle is not the only way a girl should behave. A bigger world is out there.
She prefers kiteboarding to sitting down to play the piano. She’s more into sneaking out of the house for her upcoming competition than staying at home to prepare for the examination. She proved herself by winning a kiteboarding championship despite the pressure from her family and society. She’s helping to close the gap between Chinese kiteboarders and the world’s top talents.
She likes posting photos of her competitions on her blog, which she calls “This is the World.” For this 14-year-old girl, the world is not about books or exam results. It is about growing up and experiencing new challenges. It is a place where she has the freedom to pursue her own dreams and live in her own way.
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