Chinese men's volleyball team warns against injuries

UPDATED: 13:54, June 24, 2007

The Chinese men's volleyball team urged its players to be beware of self protection and avoid injuries in their run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games.

A Chinese national player was injured during practice on June 15 and is facing permanent paralysis, making him the second Chinese athlete in less than a week to suffer neck and spinal cord injuries.

Tang Miao suffered a broken neck while training for a friendly match in St. Petersburg, Russia, with his Shanghai-based club team

Tang's injury came after teenage gymnast Wang Yan broke her neck in the national gymnastics championships in Shanghai.

Wang was injured on June 10 when she fell from the uneven parallel bars and is likely facing permanent paralysis.

"We told the team never to lose concentration in practice and competition," Chinese volleyball team official Zhang Luo said during the World League in Chengdu.

"A slip of concentration will very likely cause injuries," he added.

The Chinese men's volleyballers, who last time appeared in the Olympic Games in 1984, overcame more fancied Argentina 3-0 in 66 minutes in the World League following a 2-3 loss to world championship runner-up Poland.

Chinese head coach Zhou Jian'an said on Sunday that the Chinese team's ultimate goal is to make it to the Beijing Olympics.

"Away from the Olympics since 1984, we will have to qualify for the 2008 Games. We have no other way out," said Zhou, whose predecessors - Shen Fulin, Wang Jiawei and Di Anhe had all resigned after failed attempts.

The 43-year-old Zhou, who took the helm of the Chinese team in December 2005, said he felt like "sitting on a hot stove with a sword dangling on his head".

"The volleyball authorities ordered me to send the Chinese team at least to the top 10 in the Beijing Games," said Zhou. "It was a huge challenge."

Source: Xinhua

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