The Chinese women's team has moved into top gear to prepare for a crucial pre-Olympic season which includes the FIVB World Cup, World Grand Prix, Asian Women's Senior Championship and other top-level tournaments. The 18-member squad selected by the Chinese Volleyball Association retained 11 players of 2002 national team and enlisted three former national veterans and four new talents.
Chen Zhonghe, the team's head coach, said the most important target this year was to achieve a top three place at the World Cup scheduled in November in Japan and thus be rewarded with a direct berth to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Dissatisfied with the performance of the Chinese women's team at the 2002 World Championship, Chen indicated that they would have to work on their attacking and their psychological strength. Chen has recruited Wang Lina, a 26-year-old main spiker from the former national team, and Chu Jinling, a lofty 1.90cm 18-year-old, to reinforce the side's attacking power. The 18-player squad left on February 8 for a training center in Southern China for 100-days training session and every member will be vying for the roster of China's national team. The 18 players are: Yang Hao, Zhang Jing, Zhao Ruirui, Feng Kun, Zhou Suhong, Liu Yanan, Li Shan, Song Nina, Zhang Yuehong, Chen Jing, Li Ying, Chu Jinling, Wang Lina, Zhang Ping, Li Yan, Zhang Na, Zhao Jing and Liu Xiaojia.