Women´s softball team goes for gold 07-26-2004 16:26

The Chinese women's softball team is in the final stages of their training for the upcoming Athens Olympics. They are hoping to secure the gold medal they have been dreaming of for years. Now, we will take you to their playing court to see what they've been up to for the past few weeks.

21 selected players have been undergoing intensive training for several months. Their ultimate goal is to clinch an Olympic gold medal, which would be a major breakthrough for them.

The team has enviable past glories. They have won several world and Asian championships, and a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games. But the team has also suffered a shortage of good players and coaches-- resulting in a major setback at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where they didn't get a medal.

Determined for a turnaround, the whole team is striving to take on a new look. In March, Shann MacDonald, a world-class coach from the United States, came to improve both individual skills and team tactics. What she has been stressing is details and accuracy. If a player fails to meet the coach's tougher-than-ever standard, she has to repeat the movements again and again. The method proves very effective, and they are playing more like a team.

Shanni Macdonald said, "Each day, especially this week, every day, practice level has been at the top. That is not because of the coaching, that is because of the players, this is what matters the most. So each day I have been more encouraged and more encouraged. I think when we look at the goal, it has become a somewhat realistic dream, not just a dream, but a reality that can be touched upon based on what we have been practicing."

After two months of tough bodybuilding with a pro track and field coach, player's agility and reflexes have improved considerably.

Zhang Lixia, Chinese women鈥檚 softball player, said, "The pressure on pitchers is very heavy. We lag behind western players in ball speed and variation. We want to speed up. The pitchers wil play a key role in the Olympics."

However, The biggest headache facing the team is that a number of key players have serious injuries. But they say no matter what happens, and they will never quit. Especially since this may be the last chance in their careers, to win the gold.


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