China women’s volleyball team flop again as they miss podium finish for only the second time at the Asian senior championship

The Rio Olympic champions underlined the urgent need for ‘super coach’ Lang Ping to return to coaching duties sooner rather than later

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 8:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 8:00pm

China women’s volleyball team suffered another flop as they missed a podium finish for only the second time in the 42-year history of the Asian senior championship in the Philippines.

After their disappointing fourth place at the FIVB World Grand Prix finals in Nanjing earlier this month, the struggling Chinese team underlined the desperate need to have “super coach” Jenny Lang Ping return to the team sooner rather than later.

Lang, dubbed the “Hammer” in her glory days as a player, is set to resume coaching duties next month after undergoing a hip operation in the US. The team were led by acting coach Bao Zhuang in the Philippines.

Lang will return in time to lead the team at the Grand Champions Cup in Japan. But the mainlanders were probably hoping the 56-year-old coach had returned sooner after the Olympic champions lost three matches in the Philippines – against Thailand, Japan and South Korea – to finish fourth overall in Binan, Laguna.

China, the 13-time champions of the tournament, lost to South Korea 3-0 in the play-off for third place at the Alonte Sports Arena. It is only the second time since the Asian senior championship began in 1975 that China finished outside the top three. The last time China missed the podium was in 2013 when the tournament was held in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

Star outside spike Shu Ting was nursing a wrist injury and was rested as China fielded a relatively inexperienced team against the Koreans. China were also the defending champions after winning the tournament in Tianjin in 2015 but they were dethroned by eventual champions Japan 3-0 in the semi-finals. Japan went on to edge Thailand 3-2 in a repeat of the 2013 final to win their fourth Asian crown. China had earlier lost to Thailand 3-2 in their group F match.

Hong Kong finished 11th in the tournament after defeating New Zealand in the play-off for the minor places.