Yao fatigue claims are false, insists CBA

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 12:00am

The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) has rejected claims that star centre Yao Ming is showing signs of long-term fatigue during the national team's preparation for next month's Asian Championships in Harbin.

The People's Daily quoted the 22-year-old as saying 'I am out of breath with my feet heavy as lead,' every time he leaves the court, while last week the Liaoning-based Qiu Bao sports weekly reported that the Chinese team's doctor, Du Wenliang, had said Yao was showing the symptoms of hypertension - with high blood pressure ranging from 110 to 149 - although Du added that the seven-feet-five-inch tall Houston Rockets star did not have the condition.

The CBA has refuted those suggestions through their media officer. 'Normal, normal normal,' said Li Jingsheng of Yao. 'Everything is normal.' Another official, who declined to give his name, said Yao was training as usual along with the rest of his teammates. 'If Yao said he was tired maybe it is not the practicing but his commercial activities that are making him tired.'

The CBA's rebuttals run in the face of a string of reports in the mainland media which have also quoted Yao's agent, Lu Hao, and China teammate Liu Wei as saying that the player is 'exhausted'.

Yao has been playing and training almost constantly for over a year. He delayed his arrival in North America so he could take part in last October's Asian Games in Pusan, before suiting up for 82 matches and the All Star game during his rookie season in the NBA.

Since Houston's season finished in April, Yao has spent the majority of time with the Chinese national team. However, one insider said Yao's mainland coaches did not understand the toll that playing for Houston would have taken. 'They've never had a guy who has played 82 NBA games in the national team. He's burned out. He's a tired boy,' said the source

'He hasn't been able to take the summer off and he won't be able to next year because if they qualify, he'll be off to the Olympic Games.'