Three-time world champion Lee Lai-shan has a big surprise for her mainland rivals when she starts training in Guangdong today for next month's All China Games. Accompanying her to Shenwei is French rival Faustine Merret. The world number eight has been brought in to help Hong Kong's Olympic heroine fine-tune her preparations for the Games. Hong Kong officials showed they meant business by giving fourth-ranked San San every chance of adding a first All China Games win to her collection, which includes the 1996 Atlanta Olympics gold. They have arranged an all-expenses paid two-week trip for Merret, who pushed San San all the way before settling for a silver at last month's World Championships in Athens. The $30,000 needed for Merret's trip has come from the Arts and Sports Development Fund. 'They will be shocked to see Faustine there. The top mainland windsurfers will be particularly surprised as Faustine had beaten them in international regattas. It's the first time we have flown somebody in to act as my training partner,' said San San, who left for Shenwei yesterday with coach Rene Appel and Merret. Appel, however, issued a note of caution, saying: 'Faustine will also be surprised by the high level of mainland windsurfers overall. She has only competed with a few of them before.' Soon-to-retire San San, who captured her ninth Asian Championships title in Pusan last week, stressed she needed help from a world-class windsurfer because most of the SAR's top sailors had stayed in Pusan for this week's pre-Asian Games regatta. 'We asked Faustine to come because her level is close to mine. She'll help fine-tune my board speed and skills. More importantly, we'll practise lots of strategies like one-on-one tactics and my ability to respond to sudden changes of circumstances on the water. There will be a lot of discussions between the three of us [including Appel],' San San said. Merret, who also finished in the top three in the 1999 and 2000 World Championships before surrendering the coveted place at the Sydney Olympics to compatriot Lise Vidal, said she would 'give her best to San San'. 'Although we are rivals during competition, we are friends. I'll try to help her as much as I can. I believe she can win the gold at the All China Games because she is one of the greatest female windsurfers of all time,' said the 23-year-old from France's northern coastal city Brest. 'I don't usually train with athletes from other countries, but it'll be a good opportunity to learn something from San San this time. It's the second time I've acted as a training partner after having trained with Lise [Vidal] for a month ahead of the Sydney Olympics,' she said. At that Olympics, Vidal came ninth, compared to San San's sixth. San San said she couldn't wait to see how the mainlanders had improved since the last time she saw them six months ago. 'It's interesting to see how their form is. We trained there for a couple of weeks in March but have never heard from them since. I should have gone there earlier because it's important to find out what conditions are prevalent but I couldn't because I had to compete in many European regattas. 'We've kept on calling people in Shenwei and asked them about the winds and wave conditions. Some said there were strong winds but some said there were light winds. I have to get down to preparation as soon as I get there,' she said. San San's major rivals are expected to be 1998 Asian Games silver medallist Huang Ying and Wang Lifeng. Facing what is almost certain to be the final chapter of her sporting career, she told of the mentality that made her a world-beater. 'I'm not nervous at all. I won't presume that I'm going to win the title. I'll never be complacent, no matter how many gold medals I won before. Once we go on to the water, everybody has a chance to win and you can't write anybody off,' she said. San San said earlier she was likely to retire next year and would decide on her future after the All China Games, which start on October 10.