Beijing, China, October 27, 2003 - Asian Women's Championship winner China has named their final women's line-up for 2003 World Cup in Japan, which is scheduled to be held from November 1-15.
Head coach Chen Zhonghe named a 12-member squad, which is notable for the absence of China's rising new star Chu Jinling, a 19-year-old, 190 cm wing spiker. Chen said Chu was not picked due to her inexperience in international competition.
But Chen has kept most of the key players who helped China beat Russia to win the 2003 Grand Prix in Italy for the first time and retain Asian Women's Championship title in Vietnam. The starting line up for the World Cup is expected to be Feng Kun (setter), Yang Hao and Wang Lina (wing spikers), Zhou Suhong (opposite), Zhao Ruirui and Liu Yanan (middle blockers) and Zhang Na (libero).
"The most important target for the Chinese women's team in the World Cup is still to enter the top three so as to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games," Zhonghe said. To the question whether China will aim to win the World Cup title, Chen noted that, "We'll try our utmost to achieve the superb result. But first we must book the ticket to the Olympic Games, which is our main aim."
Chen said though China's main arch-rival Russia did not qualify for the World Cup, it's still not easy for China to win the World Cup as the United States, Italy and Brazil are all very strong and are actually on the same level with China while Poland, which defeated Russia twice this year, and Turkey are a bit of an unknown.
Following is the full squad:
Setter: Feng Kun and Song Nina
Wing Spikers: Yang Hao, Wang Lina and Zhang Yuehong.
Middle Blockers: Zhao Ruiuii, Liu Yanan, Chen Jing and Zhang Ping
Opposite: Zhou Suhong and Li Shan
Libero: Zhang Na