Study vs sport: the great balancing act

Updated: 2011-08-21 07:56

By Tang Zhe (China Daily)

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Though he failed to become a professional soccer player eight years ago, Yang Yang, a midfielder on the Chinese Universiade team, has still made the most of his days on the pitch.

Study vs sport: the great balancing act

Yang Yang, a member of China's Universiade national soccer team, who is also a PhD majoring in business administration at the Beijing Institute of Technology, Aug 18, 2011.[Photo by Cui Meng/China Daily]

The 26-year-old, who scored a superb solo in the quarterfinal against Japan, long dreamed of being a professional player, but failed to pass trials at several clubs in Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces.

He then went back to do the national college examination and was admitted to the Beijing Institute of Technology in 2003.

Yang soon became a member of the campus team and got the chance to play in the second-tier professional league with the team. The Shenzhen Universiade gave him the opportunity to don the national uniform.

"We play soccer because we love the sport," said Yang, who has a doctorate in business administration. "As students, we hope to play for our university. Meanwhile, the university also needs us, so we keep playing. The experience also helps to broaden our horizons."

However, it's not easy for students like Yang to excel in soccer while keeping up with their classes. It takes a great effort for Yang and his teammates to find a balance.

"I used to have classes in the morning and train in the afternoon. It's hard, but all of us work like this," said Yang, who has fewer lessons now and can enjoy more time on the pitch.

"Jin (Zhiyang) also gives us enough space to balance training and study. When schoolwork is demanding, we focus more on study; otherwise, we devote more time to training."

Instead of being worried about the college team's lack of training time, Jin, coach of the campus team at the Beijing Institute of Technology and the Chinese Universiade team, is proud of his players' good schoolwork.

"Playing soccer has never affected Yang's study," the coach said. "Especially his English, which is really good. When we go abroad and need to communicate with foreign players, he is our interpreter."

Yang said he will play another one or two years for the university and then focus totally on his career.

"I won't participate in soccer after graduation, so I really cherish my time on the pitch now," he said.