A former female basketball player from central China's Hubei Province retired to become a tennis referee and recently qualified as a silver referee, thereby becoming the first female silver referee ever in the country.
Last month in Doha, the capital city of Qatar, Wang Jing, a teacher from Wuhan City Vocational College, central China's Hubei Province, participated in the Grade 3 training course of the International Tennis Federation and obtained the silver referee qualification, thereby becoming the first female silver referee ever in China's tennis history.
At the same time, she also has the qualification as an international white card referee.
Wang used to be a player on the Hubei Women's Basketball Youth Team and switched to tennis out of sheer interest.
Wang said she had always loved tennis and she got hooked while trying out being a tennis referee.
Ever since entering the circle of tennis referees, Wang has been sitting for various examinations.
"I knew I couldn't live without sports after retirement, so I decided to participate in the professional operation of tennis," Wang explained.
Her years of accumulated efforts in sports paid off. At the end of 2000, Wang passed the official exams and became a national tennis referee.
Two years later, she passed a further exam in Bangkok and was promoted to the international level.
In 2016, after taking an exam in Shanghai, Wang was awarded the title of silver medal referee group leader.
She pulled off a coup this year by passing the silver medal referee's exam.
"To be a gold medal referee, you don't need to take any exam. Instead, the International Tennis Association will decide whether or not to promote you through the evaluation of your work," Wang explained.
There are still not many women in China who would like to be tennis referees.
There is no hard-and-fast rule for the time of a tennis match. When encountering a longer match, the referee has to be exposed to the sun for several hours.
When Wang served as a referee for the first time in 2001, she was still left sunburned after the game, though she had applied four layers of sunscreen previously.
Since the combination of Li Ting and Sun Tiantian won gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics, Chinese referees were seen in high-level tennis matches.
Wang was the first Wuhan referee in the four major world tennis events. In the 2005 and 2006 Wimbledon Tennis Opens, she served as the linesman for two consecutive sessions.
This year, Wang once again became a referee at Wimbledon. "This time, I was more relaxed and was able to enjoy the game itself better," Wang said.
During her 18 years of refereeing career, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games impressed her most.
"Looking back now, that experience makes me very proud. Now, after participating in many competitions, we have found that the level of the Beijing Olympic Games is unimaginable in many countries," said Wang.
"I am very proud that I was a member of the tennis competition team at Beijing Olympic Games, and the experience I have accumulated in event organization is very helpful for my later work, as it gave me an access to learn more about the work behind the game, to approach the athletes outside the court, and get to know more about their demands," Wang added.
For those who aspire to work as an international referee, Wang believes, language and cultural differences can be a tough challenge.
In her view, "learning English on one's own is generally a good way to communicate freely, but different cultural backgrounds lead to different thinking patterns between the Chinese referees and the western counterparts, which can only be gradually adapted to.
In addition, enhancing our perception and understanding of the world and having an inclusive attitude can also help resolve some communication barriers with foreigners."
In 2016, Wang was transferred from the Hubei Provincial Sports Bureau to the Tennis College of Wuhan City Vocational College, where she became a teacher.
"As a teacher, I can better share my tennis experience with students and cultivate more professional management talents for Chinese tennis sports," said Wang.
Six of Wang's students were selected as linesmen in this year's Wuhan Tennis Open, two of whom stood out from the 70 candidates and joined the finals.
"I am so happy for them. It gave me a sense of tremendous accomplishment. What I can do personally are limited, but if more talents can be cultivated in the field, they would be playing a greater role in promoting this cause," Wang said.
As for her future goal, Wang said that tennis is her favorite sport, and she would like to continue her endeavor to help promote the tennis sport through her professional abilities, "to help our city make good use of tennis as her name card," she added.
(Source: cjn.cn /Translated and edited by Women of China)