CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (3/5/2020 Thu.)

CHINA

Podcast: Story in the Story (3/5/2020 Thu.)

People's Daily app

02:20, March 05, 2020

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From the People's Daily App.

This is Story in the Story.

Following China’s loss to the US in Jiangmen in the Nations League, the teams squared off at the Volleyball World Cup, where Team China swept their arch-rivals 3-0.

A similar story of revenge occurred at the 1984 Olympics, where China shrugged off a group stage loss and then came back and secured a 3-0 victory to claim their first volleyball Olympic gold.

The win firmly established China as a powerhouse on the global volleyball stage, as the team claimed consecutive titles after winning the 1981 World Cup and the 1982 World Championship. 

At the Athens Olympics in 2004, China recovered from two sets down to edge Russia for gold.

"The spirit of Chinese volleyball comes from every minute, every play, every day of training," said captain Zhu Ting, who rose to the occasion time after time at the 2019 World Cup when China encountered difficulties.

Today’s Story in the Story looks at the Chinese women’s volleyball team and how the spirit of hard work and dedication has helped China dominate the sport worldwide.

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Zhu Ting (L) of China spikes the ball during the Round Robin match between China and Serbia at the 2019 FIVB Women's World Cup in Osaka, Japan, Sept 28, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)   

Superstar Zhu Ting has paved the way for young Chinese talent to step out of their comfort zone and test themselves abroad.

After leading China to Olympic gold at the 2016 Rio Games, Zhu raised eyebrows when she left Henan for Istanbul for a stint that ultimately yielded plenty of trophies-including Europe's most prestigious club crown, the CEV Champions League, in 2018.

Given the country's glorious history in women's volleyball, Chinese players signing for foreign teams was nothing new. 

The 25-year-old has since returned home, where she is suiting up for Tianjin, but a new generation of young talent is following in her footsteps.

Last December, Sun joined a Serbian team from Shandong. The 25-year-old admits it's not all been plain sailing, but she is undoubtedly relishing the trip into the unknown-no matter what challenges it throws at her.

"I think I'm doing fine so far and integrating with my new teammates well, despite the playing style here being very different from the style we play in the Chinese league," Sun said.

"I'm trying my best to adjust. Integrating and cooperating with my teammates is not a problem. We usually communicate in English, and they have taught me some easy Serbian words, like some specific volleyball phrases."

Language is another problem, especially considering that she and her teammates can only speak a little English, and Serbian is pretty much completely alien to her.

Sun, though, is determined to persevere with her new environment.

"This whole trip will have a very positive influence on my professional career. I am gaining more experience and learning new ways of playing and training," she enthused.

A month after her arrival, Sun was pleased to be joined by a Super League rival at Lajkovac-Tianjin's Yu Yunwei.

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Zhang Changning (L) and Yan Ni of China block during the Round Robin match between China and Serbia at the 2019 FIVB Women's World Cup in Osaka, Japan, Sept 28, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

Having a compatriot around has not surprisingly proved to be a big help for both of them.

"I've known Sun Ruhan since we were in youth teams, and it's great that we've become teammates in a foreign country," said Yu.

"The living environment here is good, but we have to take care of our three meals a day ourselves. I don't know how to cook, so basically Sun has been taking care of me. I miss the canteen of the Chinese team so much!"

Sun is also grateful for the company-both on the court and at the dinner table.

"When there are no games to play, we need to train four hours a day-two in the morning and two at night. We cook together, but just some simple things like noodles and fried rice. If we have time, maybe chicken wings occasionally."

Li Quanqiang, the director of the Volleyball Administrative Center of the General Administration of Sport of China, hopes that more Chinese players can be similarly adventurous with their careers.

"It shows that domestic clubs and players have a more open mindset, and it also shows that more foreign clubs now recognize the potential of Chinese players," said Li.

"Even some Chinese players who are not strong enough to be a core player in a big team, they can still level up their strength in low-level foreign leagues and improve step by step.

"We encourage more players to play outside China, where possible. Not only the women players but also the men. The Chinese Volleyball Association will create opportunities for them," she said.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Lance Crayon, Brian Lowe and Paris Yelu Xu. Music by: bensound.com. Text from China Daily.)


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