TAIPEI (Taiwan News)- "It feels great when I see my hard work pay off," said Taiwanese athlete Liao Yan-jun (廖晏均) in an exclusive interview with Taiwan News ahead of the Taiwan Athletics Open held last Friday and Saturday (May 25,26).
Earlier in March, Liao met the qualifying criteria for the Asian Games Women's 100m event in the Taipei Spring Athletics Open (台北市春季全國田徑公開賽) by clocking in her new personal best of 11.67 seconds.
She clinched a silver medal in the Women's 100m event and a gold medal for the Women's 4*100m relay in the Taiwan Athletics Open.
However, she wasn't satisfied with her performance, and felt a little disappointed after the prize presentation ceremony, because the time that the relay team clocked in the finals did not secure them a spot for the Asian Games.
Liao represented the Asics team, together with Liao Ching-hsien, Ko Ching-ting and, Chen Wan-mei
She has dealt with many setbacks before being becoming who she is today; she missed out on participating in the 2016 Asian Athletics Junior Championships and the Summer Universiade Games held in Taipei last year.
In 2016, Liao's 100m and 200m records could have bagged the gold medals in the Asian Under-20 Athletic Championships. But the qualifying criteria were higher in that year. Thus she wasn't called to join the National Team.
She was also skipped over for the 4*100 relay team squad for the Summer Universiade last year as she did possess University Enrollment Status, thus making her ineligible to represent Taiwan in the event.
She felt disappointed then, but she knew that she couldn't afford to spend so much time in her sorrow, so she bounced back quickly and proved to everyone that her efforts could pay off.
She took a gap year last year to focus on track and field and to further improve her technique in track events. She said that the gap year has been fulfilling, despite the fact that there are times that she envied her classmates and was afraid that her relationship with her friends was growing more distant, since they seem to have fewer common topics to discuss than they used to have.
When asked about her goal for the Asian games, she said that she does not do goal setting as she believes that preparation is more critical than goal-setting.
She said," My personal best timings were clocked unexpectedly. And this is why I do not give myself a goal." She believes that being in good health is what's most important and she trusts her legs to take her wherever her dreams may lead.
She would like to thank her family for their continuous support as she has been pursuing her dreams on the athletic field. Liao's family has never been absent for any of her competitions.
Apart from her family, she mentioned that she would also like to express her heartfelt gratitude towards her physiotherapists Chen Jun-ru(陳俊儒), Chen Hsin(陳鋅 ), and Li Shu-cheng(李書丞) who always ensure that she is in top-form for competitions.
She also said that joining Taipei Municipal Lishan Senior High School's Athletics Team has been the best thing that ever happened to her, as the team has been Liao's motivation during training when it gets tough. She said," Without them, I would not be able to make it through the tough training. I thank them for all the encouragement."
Her athletic life doesn't end here, she is Liao Yan-jun.