Lang Ping's legacy appreciated in Italy

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-10-6 17:14:27

For the many people who met her while she played and coached in Italy, Jenny Lang Ping, who is now leading the Chinese national team at the ongoing 2014 FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship, is a volleyball legend as much as a family person.

Marco Raguzzoni, a volleyball agent at Top Volley Srl, based in the northern city of Modena, was a child when he met Jenny Lang Ping for the first time in the 1990s.

"The affection that was born between her and my family has never lessened over all these years," he told Xinhua.

It was Raguzzoni's father, who was the sports director of Italy's Modena Club women's team at that time, to introduced the former Chinese player to Italy.

"She came to Modena with her husband. They were alone in a new environment and my father wanted them to feel like at home. So they had dinner and spent time with my family very often," Marco recalled.

The work relation turned to be a friendship, which has remained very strong up to now that things have changed in the Raguzzoni family. "Since a few years, my father has had serious health problems, and Jenny every year pays a visit to him, always," Marco highlighted.

"I have rarely seen in my life such an extraordinary loyalty," he observed. "Jenny has always lavished all her care on us."

In addition to building up profound dialogue with her Italian friends, Lang during her years in Italy has also played an important role of "cultural bridge" between China and Italy, Marco also noted.

He admitted he does not know many things about China, but was able to taste a little bit of this culture that he described as "very respectful of the others" thanks to Lang.

Xinhua found that Lang has left the same precious legacy to many other people who had the fortune to know her in Italy. William Bellei, a manager at Italy's Modena Club women's team, was among these.

"We had the opportunity to admire her both as player and coach, " he said. Bellei was president of the team when it won the Italian Cup in 1990.

"Lang's contribution was decisive. Although being at the end of her career, she was the best player in the world," he said.

After she stopped playing, Lang guided the Chinese national team to the silver medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and second place at the 1998 World Championship in Japan.

Following her resignation in 1998, Lang was asked to take coaching position again in Italy's Modena Club women's team, and enjoyed great results, winning the Italian championship in 2001, and then the European Champions League and the Italian Cup.

Lang also guided other Italian teams to success before she became the coach of the US national team in 2005 and led the team to a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in her home country.

"Jenny is a top celebrity in China but this has never conditioned her attitude, because she is incredibly smart," Bellei went on saying. "In fact all those who meet her are struck by her great personality."

Bellei said he has always been fascinated by Lang's great "calmness and fair play" with everybody and in particular during matches.

"I have a picture of her in my office. We still have an idyllic relation, although in the distance, and I have wonderful memories thanks to her," he told Xinhua.

"Every time she has the possibility to come to Modena, she makes a visit to me. Some months ago I was in a shop and I felt someone putting her hands on my eyes: it was Jenny," he said.

Posted in: Eye on the ball

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