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Astronaut hailed as role model in home town
( 2003-10-22 08:36) (China Daily)

When Yang Liwei became China's first astronaut, he made a name for his hometown, Huludao in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, as well as for himself.

He has been hailed as a role model for others in the town, local government officials said yesterday.

His mother, Wei Guilan, was filled with pride when speaking of him during an interview.

"My son has achieved great glory for our country, our home town as well as my family, and even local people are proud of him," she said.

Wei ascribed Yang's success to his perseverance, discipline, self-confidence and responsible manner.

Recalling Yang's childhood, the mother said her son had cherished an ambition to become a pilot since he was very young.

"This is possibly because he and his classmates were often taken by his teacher to visit an airport in Suizhong County, 50 kilometres away from my home," she said.

When Yang was 17 in 1983, he was selected by an aviation university as a pilot and realized his dream.

Wei said her son was very creative and often disassembled his tools to try to put them back together on his own as a child.

"To see whether a train was longer than bus, he once snuck away to the railway station several kilometres away from home with his little friend when he was in kindergarten," she said.

Yang is very self-assured, she added.

"Self-confidence has helped him overcome the many obstacles that coaches set up during the training process," Wei said.

Yang was surprisingly relaxed when he took a three-day break during National Day holidays prior to his space flight, according to his mother.

"He helped his wife with the housework and looked after his son as if nothing important would happen," she said.

"He told me that he was very familiar with the operational procedures and able to find every apparatus in the spaceship even with his eyes closed."

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