World News‎ > ‎

Chinese basketball grandma becomes internet sensation

posted 18 Oct 2012, 03:30 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 18 Oct 2012, 03:30 ]

Despite health problems, 75 year-old Zhu Shumei from China's eastern Zhejiangprovince has shot to fame with her basketball skills, state media reports.

JINHUA CITY, ZHEJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA (OCTOBER 17, 2012) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (CCTV) -  Seventy-five-year-old Zhu Shumei, dubbed the "Basketball Granny," has won both respect and sympathy from residents in her eastern China city with her surprising talents on the basketball court, state media has reported.

Zhu's dreams of playing professionally were never realised because she was considered too short to play at a diminutive 1.524 metres (five feet). But she never stopped playing the game and for the past 23 years, she has practiced regularly in Jinhua city in Zhejiang province, Chinese broadcaster CCTV reported.

She starts practice every day at seven a.m., where she attempts 200 shots, usually with few misses.

But in recent years, Zhu has experienced a host of health problems, ranging from cataracts to heart disease.

With only a government pension of 1119.57 U.S. dollars (1,113 Yuan) every three months and limited living expenses provided by her son, it was difficult for her to keep up with the expensive prescriptions she must take.

Her determination inspired students at Zhejiang Normal University, where she is a regular celebrity on the courts.

Students She Yue and Song Huating posted blogs about her plight and turned the basketball grandma into an internet sensation.

"What she has been doing has moved us deeply. She is full of positive spirit," said She.

Students at the university organised a charity event to help Zhu with her finances.

"If we launch more donations in the future, we will let other know on micro-blogs. We hope that we could help her solve her fundamental problems," said Song.

Zhu said she appreciated the gesture but disapproved of taking their money.

"I know the money collected is from their parents. They are only students, where do they get the money? I feel bad if I take money from them," said Zhu.

Nevertheless, students said they will continue to raise money to help, and Zhu will keep on shooting her hoops.