Chinese women’s volleyball defends its honor competing against Italy, despite being knocked out from group stage
Published: Jul 31, 2021 11:36 PM
Chinese volleyball players Photo:VCG


Although the Chinese women's volleyball team successfully defended its honor competing against Italy on Saturday night, their previous underperformance still sees them bow out from the group stage. Analysts denied netizens' comments saying the disappointing Tokyo trip was only a team preparation practice for Paris 2024.

Chinese women's volleyball team just won its second last match against Italy 3-0, after sadly having lost games to the US, the Russian Olympic Committee, and Turkey in a row.

As Turkey has already beaten Argentina 3-0 and successfully secured themselves the last place in competing in the upcoming quarterfinals in Tokyo, the Italy match didn't play a key role in deciding the Chinese team's destiny but was a "competition of honor," as Chinese fans believe. 

This was the first time in 37 years that China failed to qualify for the Olympic quarterfinals since the country began playing women's volleyball at the Olympic Games.

Yet not being exclusive to China, "it is even the first time in history that a volleyball team has known its failing destiny before the preliminary rounds ended," Wang Dazhao, a Beijing-based sports commentator, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Analysts have denied the commentary on social media saying that the team's underperformance during its Tokyo trip is due to the team treating it as more of a "warm-up" practice for next Olympics in Paris rather than considering it as a competition.

"I don't believe they would treat it as a warm-up on purpose just for the next competition," Luo Le, a sport commentator based at Beijing University of Chemical Technology, told the Global Times on Saturday. "You can consider each competition as a practice for the next though."

Yet "the Tokyo Olympics is such an important event for Chinese volleyball. It is impossible for them to take the game for granted," denied Wang.

Analysts believe the wrist injury sustained by China's captain Zhu Ting, who accidentally injured as early as 2017, should be considered as the major contributor to this historic failure.

Zhu has been treated with conservative management instead of surgery in order to catch up with preparations for Tokyo, according to Chinese team head coach Lang Ping's interview with The Paper on Wednesday. 

Lang said that Zhu's injury had a great impact on the attacking maneuvers during the match, expressing that she didn't expect Zhu Ting's injury to be so severe.

Fans have expressed their support on social media after hearing the news, saying that the girls have been doing a great job, and asking Zhu to take care of her wrist injury and get better as soon as possible. 

"Winning or losing in sports is commonplace. We did not admit failure when we were knocked down to the bottom, because we'll become great again. This is the spirit of the women's volleyball team," said a fan on social media.

Team China is no stranger to three defeats in a group stage: The 2016 champions faced a similar scenario in the group stage before they managed to win the Rio Olympics title.

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