Early loss gives Chinese sitting volleyball time to improve

The reigning Paralympic and world champions are learning from their loss to rivals the USA back in March. 18 Aug 2016
Yu Hong SHENG - Sitting Volleyball - London 2012 Paralympic Games
ⒸIPC Credit
By Jayden Hocking | For the IPC

“I am not a legend, I am only one of the Paralympic players.”

Although disappointed by the result of March’s Intercontinental Cup, losing on home turf may well have been the wake-up call Yu Hong Sheng and the Chinese women’s team needed.

The upset has led to them identifying weaknesses early and giving them time to work on them before September’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“To tell you the truth, the Chinese female team has a long way to go to reach our target, we are making efforts to realise it by improving the quality of our training,” Sheng said.

“The time-off period showed we have a big problem in counter attacking. We over valued ourselves and were too eager to win. Also, we didn’t change the way of play quickly enough according to the present situation.”

Sheng dispelled any thoughts that the defeat rattled their confidence.

It was the first time in a major World ParaVolley championships that the USA defeated China, who lost 3-1.

“Myself and my team felt disappointed about the defeat [but] we did leave it behind,” Sheng said. “I learned in the defeat that when confronted with strong opponents, you have to be resilient and get prepared for the difficulties.”

The group matches in Rio get underway on 9 September, and China’s focus has turned toward defending their gold medal from London 2012.

Seen as a leader of the team?, Sheng lists serving as her strong point, and noted that the cooperation between teammates helps highlight everyone’s individual skills.

“It’s now the key time for the preparation of the Games, and our team will make plans according to the analysis and try to improve our weakness,” Sheng said.

The reigning world and Paralympic champions were drawn in Pool B, alongside Iran, Rwanda and main rivals the USA.

China and the USA are ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, and have played against each other in the final of the last two Paralympic Games, with the Asian nation winning on both occasions.

Sheng is aware of the high expectations for China, who have won every final since the women’s competition was added to the Paralympic programme in Athens 2004.

“Yes the whole team feels pressure, we know all the teams are improving rapidly, with more advanced skills,” Sheng said.

Sheng has been part of every Paralympic gold medal team, but she does not take the credit for China’s consistent success.

“I am not a legend, I am only one of the Paralympic players,” Sheng said. “I am like any other athlete, wishing to perform my best during the game. I do hope the Chinese team will win.

“I feel excited and honoured every time representing China, I wish to see the national flag rise up high. I like the intense feeling; it helps me bring out my skills.”


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.

Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.