China's women's 3x3 basketball team envisions brighter future after Olympic bronze

(Xinhua) 10:04, August 21, 2021

Yang Shuyu (L) of China in action during the Tokyo 2020 women's 3x3 basketball semifinal against the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on July 28, 2021. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Fresh from winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, China's women's 3x3 basketball team has reasons to hope for a brighter future.

In the event's Olympic debut, China won its first Olympic basketball medal in 29 years, since a silver in the women's team event at the 1992 Barcelona Games. The Chinese team also claimed its first ever FIBA 3x3 Women's Basketball World Cup title in 2019.

Head coach Xu Jiamin said her team's performance over the past three years can help better promote the sport within China.

"I hope the results can motivate everyone, and attract more high-caliber players and more attention so that it enjoys better development in the future," she said in an online interview on Friday.

Wan Jiyuan (L) and Zhang Zhiting (R) of China take on Anastasilia Logunova of the ROC on July 28, 2021. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Xu began to lead the national team to compete globally in 2018. "Throughout this Olympic cycle, we have been looking for our competitiveness," she said. "We have made some achievements and gained experience in international competitions at a certain stage."

"At this Olympics, we got experience and discovered our weaknesses. We are not complacent about we have achieved, and we will get better and better."

For Xu, the public didn't have high expectations toward this team at first, but being crowned at the 2019 World Cup led to greater recognition and expectations, leading to more pressure on the outfit.

"We just kept a stable mindset in our step-by-step preparation and laid out our preparatory tactics more specifically en route to finishing the Olympics," she noted.

China's Wang Lili (L) in action against the ROC. (Xinhua/Zhang Xiaoyu)

Team captain Zhang Zhiting recalled how the quartet hugged each other after winning the bronze medal game against France to stand on the podium.

"We were very nervous during the entire tournament. At that moment, we could let out all our emotion," she said.

"Every tournament is the same to me. I can find my own advantages and problems through these matches, and it motivates me," added Zhang.

The oldest player within the team, Wang Lili joined up in March. "It was a new challenge and I could feel huge pressure through intense preparation," said the 28-year-old.

"We are a young team. Despite the gap from us to those top-level teams, we have our own strong points. We have to improve our competitiveness and tactical execution."

Gold medal winners the United States (C), silver medal winners the ROC (L) and bronze medal winners China at the awards ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, July 28, 2021. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

The future looks bright for Yang Shuyu and Wan Jiyuan, both born in 2002.

Yang's elder sister Yang Liwei also took part in the Tokyo Olympics, finishing fifth with Team China in the 5x5 event. Apart from her sister, Yang Shuyu also idolises Golden State Warriors scoring guard Klay Thompson for his clutch shots.

"Dare to think about it [big shot] first," said Yang. "Then you can become more relaxed on the court."

Yang Shuyu (L) of China goes for a basket against the ROC. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

Yang, who was widely followed online during the Tokyo Games, is thrilled to see that women's basketball has attracted more attention.

"I will be down to earth to gear up for my next competition," she commented.

"Very excited. We have overcome much difficulty along this road, and it [Olympic medal] is a recognition toward our efforts," Wan said.

After finishing quarantine, the players will now turn their attention to the 14th Chinese National Games staged in Shaanxi Province.

"There is no forever winner in sports. Everyone has the goal of fighting for the gold medal," said Wang. 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Sheng Chuyi)


Related Stories