China volleyball stars to conduct clinic
Organisers hope they can attract thousands of secondary students to a special volleyball clinic
to be conducted by Olympic champions China next month.
The coaching session will take place before the US$95,000 3D-Gold FIVB World Grand Prix-Hong Kong, which will be held from July 8-10 at the Hong Kong Coliseum.
The Volleyball Association of Hong Kong, China (VBAHK) has confirmed that a 12-member mainland women's squad will take part in the tournament.
The VBAHK is inviting all secondary schools to nominate their best players for a training session with the Chinese squad at the coliseum on July 7.
Only 40 students would be able to attend the clinic, but up to 10,000 more could watch from the stands, said Cheng King-leung, a coach at the VBAHK.
'Most school summer holidays won't start until after July 12, and with teachers being busy marking exam papers, we believe many schools would appreciate an opportunity for such an activity,' Cheng said.
'It really depends on the feedback we get from schools. If we get a positive response, we could fill the coliseum.'
China pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in women's volleyball history in the gold medal match against the Russians at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The Chinese came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in one of the Games' most memorable moments.
'It will be a great opportunity for them to learn from the best players in the world,' said Cheng.
Last year, more than 400 players from school teams applied to attend a coaching clinic conducted by the Chinese women during their stay in Hong Kong for the FIVB World Grand Prix.
A hundred applicants were chosen to receive an hour's training from the national players, while the team from New Method College - the clinic's sponsor - played a match against the visitors.
'We held a similar clinic last year and around 4,000 people turned out to watch,' said Cheng.
Considering the mainland squad's huge popularity, Cheng said the VBAHK was in the process of setting up a fan club in Hong Kong.
'The fan club will organise regular special events where Hong Kong's volleyball players can communicate with current and former China national team members,' he said.