Planet China

Volley to the left of them

Volley to the left of them

Britons would be surprised if the country’s Olympic rowers were told to moor up for a month and study the speeches of Winston Churchill. But according to the Western China City Daily, a similar fate has befallen the Chinese ladies volleyball team – although, of course, Mao is their allocated reading matter.

The newspaper reports that the China Volleyball Association has ordered a month-long, closed-door session to study The Long March. Apparently it was felt the formerly-dominant team needed a mental rebooting after only winning bronze at the Beijing Olympics. To return to gold medal form in 2012, they are to embrace the poem’s message of struggle, retreat and eventual victory. So if you spot any revolutionary bump-and-spiking techniques in London next year, you’ll know why.

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