Windsurfer saves rival from drowning at China's National Games

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 10:18am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 12:05pm

Despite some embarrassing episodes at China's 12th National Games, true courage was celebrated when a member of the Sichuan windsurfing team jumped into choppy waters to rescue a competitor from drowning, Chinese media reported.

Hao Xiumei, a first-time competitor at the National Games representing  team Liaoning, fell into the water during the first round of the women’s RS:X sailing competition on Tuesday, her coach revealed. Strong winds carried her surfboard hundreds of metres away and Hao was seen struggling in the water alone, reports said.

Concerned about Hao's plight, 20-year-old Ma Jiao, from Sichuan, abandoned the race and jumped into the water to rescue Hao.

A Liaoning coach told Chinese media Hao was suffering from cramps after she fell into the water. “She was saved thanks to the selfless help of Ma Jiao, ” said team Liaoning in an open letter of appreciation.

The heroic act won Ma Jiao applause not only from her competitors, but also the referees. Although she failed to finish the race, the referees' committee decided to rate her performance based on her previous records, said reports.

China’s 12th National Games, which opened in Shenyang last Saturday, has had its share of unpleasant incidents. Earlier this week, an Australian coach working for team Jiangsu suffered racial slurs  during a scuffle with an assistant in the Beijing women's rugby sevens team.

Read more SCMP China Insider stories written by Amy Li or follow her on Twitter