China's injured men's volleyball player Tang Miao was encouraged by legendary coach Lang Ping on Tuesday, as Lang, who recently signed with Turkish league giant Telekom Ankara, visited him during her brief sojourn in China.
Tang broke his neck while warming up for a training session in St Petersburg, Russia, in June 2007, when Tang's local Shanghai team was tuning up for a friendly match as part of celebrations for the "Year of China in Russia".
He was nearly paralyzed and missed the Beijing Olympics. The 26-year-old is still undergoing a rehabilitation program in Beijing.
Former China and US head coach Lang Ping (second right) visits Tang Miao (left) at Beijing Hospital on Tuesday. Tang, a key member of China's men's volleyball team, is now undergoing rehabilitation after an accident last June left him partially paralyzed. (China Daily)
Accompanied by his wife Zhou Suhong, captain of the national women's team, Tang was sitting on a training bed leaning on his hands when Lang met him at the hospital in Beijing on Tuesday morning.
"Tang, you're great," Lang said. "You've made great progress compared to when I saw you two months ago."
Lang, known as the "Iron Hammer" during her playing days for her killer spikes, is considered a role model and an icon of China's sporting greatness.
She ended her contract with the US women's volleyball team at the end of last month and signed with the Turkish club for a five-month deal less than a week later. Lang, a Hall of Famer who led the United States to a silver medal at the Beijing Games in August, also led her new club to win its first match.
Talking about her stay in Turkey, Lang said she was only concerned about the food and the language barrier.
Turkey uses mutton as its main cuisine - but Lang does not. One of her main tasks upon returning to China was stocking up on plenty of Chinese flavorings.
Turkish was also proving to be far from a delight.
"It is a very complicated language and I don't think I will be able to understand it anytime soon," Lang said, adding that this could limit her understanding of the country.
But it does nothing to weaken her tough training regimen, which she has already begun to impose on a planned grip to the new club. Lang even cut short her United States trip so she could be back in Ankara yesterday to put the Telekom players through their paces.
"The Turkish volleyball league sets a high level," Lang was quoted as saying by sina.com. "I think it will be interesting to coach there."Soruce: China Daily