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The Hammer cometh

Updated: 2013-04-26 02:41
By TANG ZHE ( China Daily)

The Hammer cometh

Newly appointed Chinese women's national volleyball coach Lang Ping (left) and men's coach Xie Guochen shake hands during a news conference on Thursday in Beijing. Zou Hong / China Daily 

China hires ex-coach Lang Ping in attempt to revitalize volleyball team

No more fear. The Iron Hammer is here.

For the past four years, Chinese women's volleyball has been plagued by frustrating international results, frequent coach reshuffles, numerous injuries and a shortage of talent.

Volleyball was the first sport in which China succeeded on a global scale and was widely followed in the 1980s.

A prolonged slump might finally be coming to an end though, as Lang Ping was appointed head coach of the Chinese women's national team for the second time.

Known as the "Iron Hammer", Lang was the country's best-known volleyball icon and a symbol of the "never-say-die" spirit of the team in its heyday. She has been the favorite for the coaching post since the sports authority unveiled its four candidates on April 15. Her return is expected to bring attention and confidence back to the sport.

In an online poll on

Sina.com, more than 70 percent of participants said they believe Lang will lead women's volleyball back to the top flight internationally.

Lang's appeal among Chinese volleyball players is also expected to boost the current national lineup, which has several veterans who are planning to retire.

National team player Wei Qiuyue, who was going to retire after the National Games in September, said she is ready to play for the national team for as long as needed now that Lang is the coach.

"Lang's rich coaching experiences give her quite a bit of familiarity with her opponents' strategy and character," Wei said. "She was also an outstanding athlete, which makes it easier for her to understand the feelings and mentality of the players."

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