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Home News Chinese women back on volleyball throne after a 20-year hiatus

Chinese women back on volleyball throne after a 20-year hiatus

Summer Games 7 August 2023

China celebrating their gold medal women’s volleyball win

“Exciting, intense, golden”.

This is how China’s Wu Mengjie described the women’s volleyball final win over Japan at the Chengdu FISU World University Games.

But let’s turn back the clock a little.

Attack from China’s Zhong Hui

30 August 2003 was the last time the Chinese women’s volleyball team won a FISU gold medal. Daegu, South Korea, was the host city, and the final of the competition barely lasted an hour. China beat Chinese Taipei in straight sets.

The same 3-0 score showed up on the big screen on Sunday night in Chengdu. And the Xipu Campus Gymnasium crowd was more than ready to erupt.

Although it looked like an easy win in terms of sets for the team led by head coach Zhao Yong, fans were treated to a hard-fought battle from start to finish.

“The whole tournament went our way,” said the Chinese coach following his team’s 29-27, 29-27, 25-22 triumph. “Although we lost a set in the first game against Germany, the girls stuck together and played better every game. They deserved to win the championship.”

18 sets won and only one lost throughout the tournament was an astonishing feat for the home nation.

“There is no recipe. We just learn from our opponents, play every game, every ball,” added Wu, China’s top scorer in the final. “Step by step. We set ourselves goals and were prepared to overcome difficulties.

The championship match was no exception.

The rivals exchanged the lead, and that’s what made the duel so exciting. Japan put up a great fight, but China could once again count on a packed arena cheering them on.

“The support and encouragement of the home crowd gave the team strength,” said the proud coach.

Wu Mengjie from China

“I’m very happy,” said captain Zhuang Yushan. “Winning in front of the home fans makes me even more proud as captain.”

Size was a big factor in the result of this all-Asia confrontation.

“The main thing is the size of the Chinese,” Japan captain Yokota Sayaka honestly assessed after the match. “They have a huge advantage in that aspect.”

In the match for third place, Poland beat Brazil in four sets after dropping the opener.

The Chinese women are currently dominating team sport competitions in Chengdu, having already won the basketball and volleyball titles. They have a chance to add water polo to their trophy case on Monday.

“Come on! We believe in you,” said Wu Mengjie, a student at Nanjing Normal University, after joking that the men’s teams couldn’t keep up.

Written by Miha Trošt, FISU Young Reporter