Heart of gold – How Hui Ruoqi came back from surgery to lead China’s Rio volleyball quest

The team captain needs monthly check-ups because of her condition as the mainland look to end a 12-year wait for the Olympic title

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 7:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 10:40pm

China’s volleyball captain Hui Ruoqi is ready to break the country’s 12-year Olympic gold drought just one year after undergoing heart surgery.

I was sad about this for a long time but my parents have taught me many things and I think my life is not all volleyball
Hui Ruoqi

The outside hitter went under the knife for inflammation of the heart but returned to training after just three months and completed her recovery by being named in the mainland side for the Rio Olympics.

“Without successful treatment it would have stopped me playing. It would have affected my life too. So it was a worrying time,” said Hui, who needs monthly check-ups to ensure everything is in order.

“I had many practices on the court before I was able to come back and play.”

Doctors advised her to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity. And with the support of her coaches, who insisted on the regular check-ups, Hui was able to win back her place.

China open their campaign against the Netherlands on Saturday in a group B match as they look to overthrow hosts Brazil, who are aiming to secure a third straight gold medal.

Hui also credits the role of her parents, who made sure she appreciated her life beyond volleyball.

“It was a big problem,” said Hui, 25. “In my sports life and in my own life I was sad about this for a long time but my parents have taught me many things and I think my life is not all volleyball.

“I have many other ideas and as I feel better and better I feel the hope of my life again. I chose to come back and play volleyball to see what I can achieve on the court.

“An Olympic gold medal would be special to me after what has happened. But mostly I want to support my team.”