Li Jiaman looking to relive Youth Olympic win at Paris 2024

Li Jiaman at the first stage of the 2024 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Shanghai.


Ten years since the biggest achievement of her career, Li Jiaman admits the memories of that gold-medal-winning moment at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games remain fresh in her mind.

The recurver from Beijing wants to repeat that performance as she looks to make the most of being selected for the Chinese national team in 2024, with a shot at appearing in her first senior Games.

Jiamin is one of six recurve women in the squad this season.

China’s last Olympic medal in archery was a silver in the recurve women’s team event at London 2012, while Zhang Juan Juan’s historic individual gold on home soil at Beijing 2008 remains the nation’s only podium-topping performance at the Games.

“I want to qualify for Paris 2024 and relive the moment of standing on the podium with the national anthem playing,” she says under the athlete tents at the Hyundai Archery World Cup season opener – in China – in Shanghai.

“I’m completely confident it will be a successful year.”

“My target is to finish in the top three at international competitions, including the World Cup,” continues Jiaman.

Two appearances on the circuit in 2023, in Medellin and Paris, brought silver and bronze in the team events. Jiaman then made an impact at the Asian Games, winning team silver and individual bronze. China fell just short of qualifying a team quota for the Olympics at the end of the season – but ran Korea close.

“I did reasonably well and progressed in each event,” she says. “But there’s still room for improvement. I’m focusing on my training, daily, to get better in all aspects of my game.”

Talented Jiaman

National coach Kwon Yonghak, who has been coaching in Chinese provinces for the last 16 years, heaped praise on the former Youth Olympic Champion. He describes her as a ‘talented’ player, whose presence brings confidence to the team.

Originally from Korea, Kwon has witnessed Jiaman’s rise since her teenage days and believes the now-experienced archer is capable of recreating the Nanjing magic.

She matched the qualifying world record of 692 points during Chinese trials.

“When you set a goal for her,” says Kwon. “She will achieve it.”

The elite sports structure in China sees provinces compete against one another in national games – a sort of domestic Olympics.

Jiaman barely travelled abroad after her result in Nanjing, only appearing in one stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in 2018 and at the Asian Championships in 2017 before breaking onto the Chinese senior team last season. But she was still competing at a high level at home.

“She had set her targets in national competitions and has achieved them,” says coach Kwon, who has been coaching the women’s team for the past two years. “Her work ethic and talent have been her strengths.

“Many athletes in the team look up to her as a role model.”

Twelve years on from Zhang’s winning moment in Beijing, perhaps this driven former Youth Olympic Champion is exactly what China needs to return to the Olympic podium.

Now, though, it’s time for Jiaman to make her case on home soil again – only this time in Shanghai.

“I’m ready,” she says. “And excited for the new season.”

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