National judo, volleyball and gymnastics teams 08-02-2004 11:04

Preparations for the Olympics are never easy, but full of intensive training, practice matches and even a few nerves until the big day come. Now, we will take you to the training centers of the national judo, volleyball and gymnastics teams to see how they are planning to go for Gold at the world's biggest sporting event.

Women's judo teams rev up for Athens Olympics

The sight of more than 60 judo athletes training at the same time is quite spectacular, but it has become commonplace in the past year for the national women's judo Olympic squad.

More than 50 athletes from the Chinese men's and youth women's judo teams have joined the squad to help the 7 prospective Olympic athletes improve their skills. The women are paired up against male players of different styles to make sure they're ready for anything comes August.

Song Zhaonian, Deputy Director of State Judo Administration Center, said, "The male training partners' task is to make the training for the female athletes even tougher. We asked the male athletes to copy the style and skills of foreign competitors, so that the training will be more efficient. "

As the Games is just around the corner, the morale of the 7 players who are expected to win golds seems is sky-high. They say meeting various training partners at this stage is helpful.

Liu Yuxiang (Chinese Women's Judo Team) said, "We are learning to react to different situations when competing with players of different styles. We need to improve our responsiveness and flexibility in matches. "

Such training is likely to continue for another month before the team leaves for Athens. China clinched 3 judo golds in the previous 2 Games.

Women's volleyball team want 2nd gold

The Women's Volleyball Team has been undergoing closed-door training in Tianjin since mid-June. This is their last round of training at home prior to the Athens Olympics. Players hope that their hard work will prove profitable in Athens by helping them win back the gold which they last won in Los Angeles 2 decades ago.

The training aims to enhance the overall performance of the team, especially that of the new first-6 who are likely to play without the 1-meter-97-tall Zhao Ruirui, the mainstay of the team. China's iron-fist coach Chen Zhonghe has been pushing the players to their limits in training, and is, so far, satisfied with the players' performance.

Chen Zhaonghe said, "The training is really painstaking, and I must give the players more pressure in order to have them prepared for the fierce competition at the Olympics, both mentally and physically. If we don't work hard beforehand, we will not perform well at the Games."

Chen says it is normal for the players to feel exhausted after days of training, and luckily no one is suffering from injury. The team is scheduled to take part in the World Volleyball Grand Prix before the Olympics.

National gymnasts vie for Olympic entry

The National Gymnastics team carried out 2-days of tests in early July. This is the first in a series of tests to decide who will go to the Athens Olympics.

Every team member displayed his or her best form in the cutthroat contest to survive elimination. Chen Fei, Zhang Nan and Wang Tiantian of the women's team did a good job in the free exercise, but disappointment came when they erred on the beam - a usually strong event for the women. Coaches admitted that they have more work to do on their mental strength.

In the men's competition, all felt good about their improvement in terms of consistency, and some of the young athletes were especially note-worthy. Xiao Qin got a close-to-perfect score on the pummeled horse, while Teng Haibin received the team's highest scores on both the parallel bars and the horizontal bar.

The final Olympic line-up composed of 9 men and 9 women is to be decided in the middle of the month, and after that, the squad is set to leave for France for their final round of training.


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