China / Society

Snowboarder thrills hometown crowd in Urumqi

By Cui Jia in Urumqi (China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-03 08:17

Snowboarder thrills hometown crowd in Urumqi

Despite injury, half-pipe champ wins silver medal in team final at the 13th National Winter Games

Darmin Bieyishan, one of the most popular snowboarders at the 13th National Winter Games, was thrilled to compete in the half-pipe before a hometown crowd in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The audience for the first Games hosted outside Northeast China returned the feeling.

Despite an injury and a lower-than-expected finish, the only professional snowboarder from China's Kazak ethnic group said he hopes to be a role model for young people who want to learn to soar like him.  

Darmin, 23, was the national snowboard half-pipe champion in both the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 seasons and had hoped to win a medal in the men's final in the games that concluded in Xinjiang on Sunday.

He fell while executing a move known as Cab 1080 in the final, however, striking the edge of the half-pipe and injuring himself.

"Actually, I only learned the move on Jan 8 and I just wanted to push myself a little bit more," Darmin said. "I was a little bit nervous at the final because I really wanted to do well in front of the home audience."

Darmin joined the Xinjiang team in 2008 when he was 15. He made it to the national team in 2012, but had to drop out due to injuries.

Before the Tianshan Tianchi International Ski Resort built a world-class half-pipe in 2012, Darmin had to train in Northeast China. Now Xinjiang athletes can train in the regional capital of Urumqi, where the competition took place.

He said his mother was "scared to death" after his fall in the final, which was broadcast live on TV, and demanded he quit. "It has happened before and she knows I cannot live without snowboarding. Every time I am on the snow it's like I am having a conversation with it," he said.

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