Reigning champions China gather in Zhangzhou City ahead of Girls' U18 World Championship
Head coach Mang Shen steered his squad to the runners-up position at the FIVB Volleyball Girls' Youth World Championship in 2011, third place at the Asian Girls' U17 Volleyball Championship in 2014, and the bronze medals of the National Games of China in 2013. He will be aiming to improve on that record in 2015.
According to the China Volleyball Association, the new Chinese Girls' U18 volleyball team consists of 19 players from eight clubs. They are Li Yingying and Li Yanan from Tianjin, Xu Jianan and Liu Xin from Liaoning, Jiang Jing and Zhang Yuqian from Shanghai, Zang Qianqian, Wu Han and Xie Xing from Jiangsu, Fang Jing from Zhejiang, Qian Jinwen, Cai Yaqian, Yang Hanyu and Liu Jiayuan from Shandong, Zhai Siqi, Han Wenya and Zhang Zihan from Henan,Gao Yi and Ouyang Qianqian from the Army.
"There are 11 players who participated in the Asian Girls' U17 Volleyball Championship in 2014. And there are also some new faces, who have joined the team after their performances in national youth tournaments. So the team are the right mix of youth and experience," said coach Shen.
Li Yingying is one of the most prominent players - as well as the top scorer in this young squad. The 15-year-old left-hander ace spiker, who is 1.92m tall and boasts excellent abilities in leaping and body coordination, was picked as the Best Middle Blocker at the 10th Asian Girls’ U17 Volleyball Championship in 2014. "Her technical ability is unexpectedly all-round, and the fact she is a left-hander distinguishes her from other players," Shen said.
"The Chinese Girls' U18 team are a reservoir of talent for the senior national team. A key purpose of this training camp is to achieve the highest level of performance possible at the FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship," said Shen. "We shall take the fullest advantage of the players' height and speed."
China captured their fourth gold medals at the FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship 2013 with a straight sets win over the USA 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-23) in the final match at Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. China also captured FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship gold medals in 2001, 2003 and 2007.