Beijing, China, February 21-The Chinese Volleyball Association announced the formation of the new national women's Volleyball team, setting its main sights on the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Chen Zhonghe, who led China to win the World Cup title in 2003 and the Athens Olympic Gold medal last year, remains as the head coach. But the former assistant coach Lai Yawen was replaced by Yu Juemin, who was the head coach of Zejiang Men's Volleyball Team and former assistant coach for Chinese National Men's Volleyball Team.
The 18-member national team is a mix of experience and youth, with eight players who competed at the 2004 Olympic Games and the other ten who are only under 20 years old. Four veteran players including wing spikers Wang Lina and Zhang Yuehong, who made great contributions in helping the Chinese team win the Olympic Gold medal, were dropped from the squad due to their ages.
The new Chinese women team has an average age of 20.8 years old with an average height of 1.90 meters. Head coach said, "The main consideration for selecting so many young players in our national team is to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games. They are very promising and have great potential. The only problems for them is the lack of experience and further improvement of their skill."
"In the year 2005, I will certainly field the young players in the international competitions. But because there is a great gap between the young and the veterans in the context of technical and psychological strength, we will keep the main line-up in the competitions in 2005, who competed in the World Cup and Olympic Games, including captain and setter Feng Kun, wing spiker Yang Hao, opposite Zhou Suhong and middle blocker Zhao Ruirui," he added.
Chen admitted the attacking power by the wing spikers is his main concern, saying "he has to pay more attention to the middle blockers. That's why he selected a total of eight middle blockers into the team."
The head coach said, "Chinese people have great expectations from our team and hope the Chinese Women's team will regain the glories they achieved in the 1980s. The team will try their utmost to strive for good results in the 2006 World Championship, 2007 World Cup and 2008 Olympic Games."
Setters: Feng Kun, Zhao yun, Song Nina
Opposite: Zhou Suhong,
Wing Spikers: Yang Hao, Wang Yimei, Chu Jinling, Yin Na,
Middle Blockers: Zhao Ruirui, Liu Yanan, Zhang Ping, Xue Ming, Ma Yenwen, Luo Yu, Wang Ting, Wang Keke,
Libero: Zhang Na, Wang Lin.
By Wang Yongsun