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China rising to the challenge

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-22 07:45

China rising to the challenge

Team China's Yang Wenjin spikes against South Africa at the BRICS Games in Guangzhou on Tuesday. China won 3-0. Liang Xu / Xinhua

The inaugural BRICS Games provided a major shot in the arm for China's women's Under-20 volleyball team, according to head coach Shen Mang.

The squad will travel to Mexico for next month's U20 world championship, and Shen was thrilled to see his charges' mettle tested against top oppostion at the five-day Games that ended in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Wednesday.

"We played hard against Brazil and Russia, and both will be our major rivals at the upcoming world championship," said Shen.

He singled out Wu Han, MVP of last year's Asia Under-20 Championship, and Chen Peiyan as rising stars for China, which will play in Group B with Poland, Peru and Dominique at the U20 worlds.

"The young players are expected to play at a higher level in the near future. The BRICS Games were of great importance to improve their skills and test the squad's strength," Shen said.

China beat Brazil 3-1 on Wednesday to finish second to Russia at the Games. South Africa and India also took part in the competition.

The Russians were unbeaten in four matches, while India, one of the sport's lesser lights, was grateful for the opportunity to test itself against some of the world's best.

"We have many players who are only 16 years old. We came to these Games to learn technique from volleyball's giants," India head coach Ajay Jangra said after Saturday's 3-0 loss to China.

"The Chinese players are very tall and strong. We are also naturally lagging behind in technical skills," Jangra said.

India went on to defeat South Africa 3-0 on Monday.

Alexander Krasilnikov, Russia's assistant head coach, also hailed the usefulness of the Games.

"Traditionally, China, Brazil and Russia are very strong in women's volleyball. The games against China and Brazil were as difficult as those in any previous international competitions," said Krasilnikov, whose team beat China 3-1 and Brazil 3-2.

"The tournament has really helped boost our confidence ahead of the Mexico world championship," he added.

Some 300 athletes from the five BRICS countries participated in three sports - basketball, volleyball and Wushu (traditional Chinese martial arts) during the Games.

The launch of the first BRICS Games resulted from landmark talks at the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa, India in October last year.

China, as the rotating chair of the international bloc, will host the 9th BRICS annual summit in September in the coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian province.

qiuquanlin@chinadaily.com.cn

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