XI'AN, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- As what is connoted by her name "xiaoyan," China's history-making karateka Yin Xiaoyan always wears a smile on her face.
"My mom gave me this name, as I loved smiling at a young age," said Xiaoyan, whose given name means talking with a smile in Chinese language, after defending her title in the kumite -61kg category at the ongoing 14th Chinese National Games here on Saturday.
Yin, 28, won China's first-ever Olympic karate medal in Tokyo. But for her, the pity of failing to stand atop the podium was there and possibly lasting throughout her career as the sport will not feature on the Olympic program after Tokyo 2020.
Yin lost the Olympic final by Hantei 0-0 to her archrival Jovana Prekovic from Serbia on August 6.
"Seeing China's national flag hoisted, I feel that everything has paid off," Yin said. "However, not standing on top of the Olympic podium may be the biggest pity in my life."
Competing at the National Games back home, "I want to showcase myself and make redemption by standing on top of the podium here," she added.
With a gold medal around her neck, Yin beamed with smile.
Recalling her experience of first competing internationally in 2009, Yin, who transferred her sport from volleyball to karate in 2007, said she enjoyed the moment of stepping into the arena and seeing everyone's eyes fixed on her when she scored. She has maintained an intact winning record in national competitions for a decade.
Ren Yilin, Yin's opponent in Saturday's final, didn't show any upset after losing to her idol.
"When I joined the provincial team, she was already the top Chinese karateka," Ren said. "I grew up while watching her games."
But Yin always keeps a low profile toward those young karatekas like Ren.
"Because I have experienced what they are experiencing," explained Yin, who has experienced a lot of things that are hard to imagine, including over 40 stitches on her left hand.
She encountered a low ebb in her career in late 2018 and early 2019, as she found it difficult to cope with a tight schedule after karate was introduced to the Olympic program, participating in an overseas tournament almost every month. Already tired out, she suffered another blow due to the passing away of her family member.
"I felt that I was burned out," she recalled. But she never gave up.
"Winning once is easy, but winning always is not," she said. "Keep on going, and never give up until the final second, as you have the chance of turning it around at any time."
After concluding her National Games trip, Yin plans to take some time off before pondering on her future.
"One thing is for sure: no matter where I will be and what I will do, I will spare no effort in contributing to the development of karate."
Just as she did before Saturday's final, fist-bumping with a young fan, Yin has engaged herself in promoting the sport.
"Maybe this is a new hope for karate. As karatekas, we cannot let anyone who loves the sport get away," she said with a smile. Enditem