China volleyball official blames internet for poor form

Japan's Megumi Kurihara (3rd R) spikes the ball against China's Wei Qiuyue (front, 2nd L) and Ma Yunwen (rear, 2nd L) during their final round match at the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix in Tokyo August 22, 2009. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese women’s volleyball team spend too much time surfing the internet, which directly contributed to their poor performance at the recent world grand prix in Japan, according to a senior official.

China, whose women have won two Olympic and multiple world volleyball titles, finished fifth with a young team in Tokyo last week, matching their worst performance at the annual tournament.

“They spend too much time online after a match or training, are too self-centred and haven’t enough direct and close interaction,” Li Quanqiang, deputy director of China’s volleyball administration, told Monday’s China Daily.

“Some players stay up late in front of the computer and get distracted by the internet,” Li told the paper, adding that it was an “ideological problem of the internet generation”.

Li’s comments reflect a generation gap between the old hardliners in the Chinese sports system -- who would brook no distractions in their resolute pursuit of gold medals -- and the younger, athletes coming through.

Women’s volleyball, which in the early 1980’s provided some of China’s earliest breakthroughs in international sport, is one of the more conservative sports along with table tennis, which has sacked women from the national team for having relationships with top men players.

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