‘Once You Step Away from Podium, You Start from Zero Again’

China’s 12th Sudirman Cup title victory came barely two months after a successful Olympics campaign and marked another milestone in China’s dominance at major events.

Doubles head coach and CBA President Zhang Jun praised his team for showing the fortitude to excel at the World Mixed Team Championships yet again.

Doubles head coach Zhang Jun (far right) with the victorious Chinese team.

Asked how the team had remained at a high physical and mental level following their efforts in Tokyo, Zhang said: “The players have to stay hungry for success. Once you step away from the podium, you start from zero again. You cannot depend on your past achievements.

“Of course I understand that players would be tired after the Olympics and the National Games. The one thing we had to do was to motivate each athlete once they were on court. Our coaches did well to motivate them.”

Referring to the men’s doubles pair of He Ji Ting and Zhou Hao Dong, Zhang complimented the efforts of the young members of the team in China’s title defence.

The main decision the team had to make before the final, Zhang said, was whether they had to opt for experience over youth. Eventually, he said, they decided to trust in the ability of their young players.

Zhou Hao Dong (left) and He Ji Ting delivered the opening match for China.

“We know Japan are a strong team, they have high quality players in each event. We were always prepared to play the final again against them. At the team meeting we discussed whether we had to field some players in two events but then we decided that it would be better not to do that, as there would be long rallies against Japanese players and that would take a lot of energy.

“This time we came to the Sudirman Cup after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Chinese National Games. We lacked some of our best player in men’s doubles like Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen. We had some difficulties against Thailand and Denmark. Our pairs lost in both those ties. So after a lot of thought before the final, we were convinced that our young generation players could deliver. We fully trusted their ability; they only needed to handle pressure. So they did really well.

“For a long time we have been participating in many major events. Our players have been training really hard and for us we think it’s necessary for our young players to participate in different competitions to gain experience.”

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