Lang Ping guides China to fourth volleyball World Cup title

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Nagoya (Japan), Sep 7 (IANS) The Chinese volleyball team secured their fourth World Cup title and a berth at next year’s Rio Olympics with a hard-earned 3-1 victory over arch-rivals Japan in their last match and a 10-1 win-loss record at the 2015 FIVB Women’s World Cup here.

Having landed World Cup gold medals in 1981 and 1985 as a player, China’s Jenny Lang Ping became the first female head coach to win a World Cup title on Sunday evening, reports Xinhua.

After finishing runner-up as the head coach of China and USA at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and Beijing Olympics in 2008 respectively, and the World Championships in 1998 and 2014, Jenny finally got the touch of gold for the first time in her coaching career.

“I care about winning, but not that much, I was just trying to do my job every day,” said Jenny. “Maybe god finally has pity on me and let me win this time.”

It was also the first World Cup title for the Chinese women in 12 years. Their last success came back in 2003 when Chen Zhonghe took China to victory.

“Jenny made really good use of her players, every member of this team was very important to China’s victory,” said FIVB Life Honorary President Wei Jizhong. “She has built a united team with great fighting spirits.”

Nevertheless, Wei believed the Chinese team would meet bigger challenge at the Rio Olympic Games next year.

“Strong teams like Brazil, Italy are not playing in this World Cup and we can see the improvement of Serbia and Russia from this tournament, for sure the Olympic Games in Rio will be more difficult.”

Zhu Ting received the Most Valuable Player award after having 23 kills and four blocks to lead the Chinese team to the 25-17, 22-25, 25-21 and 25-22 victory in the last match of the tournament. Zhang Changning and Yan Ni added 13 and 10 points respectively.

Having lost two important players that helped China claim the silver medal in last year’s World Championship, namely former captain Hui Ruoqi and Yang Fangxu, in less than two months before the start of the tournament, the Chinese women adapted quick enough to capture the World Cup with sound and solid performance, losing only to world champions the United States in the third round.

Chinese sports fans could be comforted by the victory following their national women’s basketball team’s disappointing 85-50 loss to Japan on Saturday.

“The victory is even more precious after the defeat of the women’s basketball team,” Wei added.

After holding off Russia 3-1 in Saturday’s high-profile clash between two former World Cup winners, China set off to a flying start in the match against Japan, taking the first set easily. The Japanese women fought back in the second as they staged a 6-0 run on back of quality services from Yurie Nabeya to overtake the lead at 22-18. China managed to pull within 24-22, but a net violation costed them the set.

In the third set, Japan fought to a 20-all tie, only to find China run off five of the next six points to make it two sets to one. It was tied at 19-all in the fourth set before China made a 4-1 run for a 23-20 cushion and Zhu Ting notched the match winner for China with a smash.

Sarina Koga was Japan’s top scorer with 20 points and Miyu Nagaoka added 19. China outblocked Japan 11-3.

Serbia also clinched a ticket to the Rio Games after holding off a strong late surge from Argentina to finish second in the 12-team round robin tournament with a 10-1 record.

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