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"Iron Hammer" Lang to coach Chinese local club
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21:41, August 10, 2009

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Former Chinese and U.S. national volleyball head coach Lang Ping has signed to take charge of a club team in South China.

The former Chinese star hitter, known as Jenny to her American colleagues, told Xinhua on Monday that she had signed with Guangdong Hengda women's club on Monday.

It will be Lang's first coaching job in China in 11 years.

Her last coaching spell at home was from 1995 to 1998 when Lang led the Chinese women's national team to an Olympic silver medal in Atlanta and the world championship runners-up in Japan.

The 49-year-old is now enjoying her break in Beijing and her take-over of a local club has been supported by China's volleyball heavyweights.

Former Chinese sports minister and volleyball chief Yuan Weimin, Lang's former teammate Zhang Rongfang, general secretary of the Chinese volleyball administrative center, and the center's director Xu Li all applauded Lang's decision.

The Guangdong Hengda club, owned by the real estate giant Hengda, is the first privately funded volleyball club in China.

Lang, adored by millions of Chinese fans both as a player and a coach, had chosen last November not to extend her contract as the U.S. head coach for the London Olympic Games.

Lang cited the desire for a coaching position that offers more flexibility to spend time with her family as a major factor in her decision.

The resignation came after Lang guided the American team to a silver medal from the Beijing Games, its first Olympic medal since 1992. During her four-year tenure, Lang compiled a 90-49 record.

As a player, the "Iron Hammer" was instrumental in China's major breakthrough in the volleyball world in the 1980s when the Chinese team won the 1984 Olympic gold, one world championship and two World Cups.

She started to coach the Chinese women's team in 1995 and led them to a silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympcis. She took over the U.S. team in 2005.

Lang was the only female head coach among the top 20 national team coaches listed by the world's volleyball body FIVB.

According to FIVB, Lang Ping and former Hungary women's team coach Gabriella Kotsis (1972, 1976, 1980) are the only female coaches to have led teams into multiple Olympics.

Source: Xinhua

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