TOKYO, May 1 (Xinhua) — China’s iconic women’s volleyball coach, Lang Ping, believes that Tokyo will host a “great” Olympic Games, providing a great opportunity for world’s athletes and coaches to compete.
Lang, who won the Olympic championship as a player at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and as a coach four years ago in Rio, guided the star-studded Chinese team to a 25-16, 25-18, 31-29 victory over Japan in a test match for the Olympics.
“Every country is trying hard to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “Should the Tokyo Olympics take place as scheduled, it will be a great one and of great significance. It will provide a good chance for all the athletes and coaches to compete at the Olympics amid severe coronavirus concerns.”
Japan is suffering a fourth-wave in the pandemic, with Tokyo in its third state of emergency. But Lang, who arrived in Tokyo with her team last Sunday, said she feels safe and secure in the Japanese capital.
“We have been very well protected by the hosts,” she said. “The whole team is almost fully isolated from the public.”
The match was held without spectators in the 18,000-seat Ariake Arena, where the Olympic volleyball competition will be held. Lang, who also coached the U.S. team to a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said even if the Games takes place behind closed doors, they will do their best.
“I believe the players will encourage each other. We will deliver the best performance for all the TV viewers in the world.”
The Chinese team was struggling in the third set against the host team, who looks to repeat their performance in the last Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 when they won the debutant Olympic women’s volleyball tournament.
“This is our first match in a foreign country in more than 500 days,” Lang said. “We have been waiting for a match against a team as strong as Japan.”
The Chinese men’s volleyball team, who failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, was beaten by their Japanese counterpart 25-21, 21-25, 25-23,18-25, 8-15 in the afternoon’s match in front of a watching Tokyo 2020 organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto.
The two men’s teams will meet again on Sunday night. Enditem