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China Daily Global / 2020-06 / 30 / Page016


China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-06-30 00:00


Gong thriving during coronavirus shutdown

Far from dampening her spirits, shot put star Gong Lijiao says athletics' shutdown has reignited her "competitive fire".

Top-level competition has been suspended worldwide since March and the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed until next summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, China's two-time world champion Gong has embraced the upheaval and is reaping the rewards at the national team training base at Beijing Sport University.

"During this time without competition, I've had a competitive fire in my heart that I've been unable to let out," said the 31-year-old. "So during my training sessions, I've been shouting loudly to vent my feelings."

Gong has also been learning English and creating videos of her workouts to post on Douyin. Those distractions have helped her come to terms with the postponement of the Tokyo Games.

"I was very sad in the beginning because I am a senior athlete. I have been preparing for so many years for Tokyo 2020," said Gong. "But now I feel OK. I can wait. No matter when it will be held, I can wait."


Shenhua's Wu shocked at death of Petkovic

Shanghai Shenhua sports director Wu Jingui said on Sunday he was badly shaken by the news of Ilija Petkovic's death.

On Sunday, Shenhua confirmed that the Serbian had passed away at the age of 74. He coached Shenhua for one season in 2001 when Wu served as his assistant.

"I was shocked and heartbroken at the news of his death. He was a very good person as well as a very good football coach," Wu said.

"Last time we met in Belgrade in 2001... he told me that he missed the days when he worked in Shanghai. He was a genial character getting on well with his players. We cultivated a profound friendship."

Former Yugoslavia international Petkovic coached Serbia and Montenegro at the 2006 World Cup finals.

Netease reported that prior to his death Petkovic was hospitalized for a fever and an ulcer and was later found to have contracted COVID-19.

Coach Li slims down during training camp

Team China head coach Li Tie has revealed May's national team training camp in Shanghai didn't just succeed in whipping his players into shape.

Li, who took over China's men's side in January, said the rigorous two-week training camp helped him lose weight that he had piled on during this year's Spring Festival holidays, which were prolonged by the COVID-19 outbreak.

"That was the longest Spring Festival holidays I ever had, and I gained several kilograms," said the 43-year-old.

"I lost almost six kilograms over two weeks at the camp."

Former Everton midfielder Li had assembled the squad, which included three naturalized players, in preparation for delayed World Cup qualifiers that are now slated to take place in October and November.

With four more first-phase qualifiers to play, China is eight points adrift of Group A leader Syria and only leads third-place Philippines on goal difference. The eight group winners and four best second-place finishers will enter a second phase of Asian qualifying. Li is hopeful that China can defy the doubters and reach the finals in Qatar.

"My next aim is to guide my team through the first phase of the Asian World Cup qualifiers to reach the final 12," he said.


Construction begins on Shaoxing Asiad venue

The Baseball-Softball Center for the 2022 Asian Games started construction on Sunday in Shaoxing, a city southeast of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Covering an area of about 160,000 square meters, the center will become the largest baseball-softball field in the country that meets international standards.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of October 2021, with a total investment of around 1.8 billion yuan (about $254 million).

Besides baseball and softball, Shaoxing will also host basketball, volleyball and sport climbing competitions during the 2022 Asian Games.

Hangzhou is hosting the 19th edition of the Games, which will take place from Sept 10-25, 2022.


Gobert still not fully recovered from virus

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player to reportedly test positive for COVID-19 and who drew the ire of numerous people when the league initially suspended the season, says he is still not fully recovered more than three months after his original diagnosis.

Speaking with French outlet L'Equipe last week, the All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year said of his condition: "The taste has returned, but the smell is still not 100 percent. I can smell the smells, but not from afar. I spoke to specialists, who told me that it could take up to a year."

Loss of taste and smell are among the symptoms of COVID-19.

Gobert was diagnosed with the virus on March 11, and the NBA suspended its season following play that night. Two days earlier, Gobert was seen touching every reporters' microphone stationed at the podium at the end of a media session that addressed, in part, the coronavirus.


Pats sign Newton as Brady's replacement

The New England Patriots have reached an agreement with free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, bringing in the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player to help the team move on from three-time MVP Tom Brady, a source with knowledge of the deal told Associated Press.

The one-year deal is worth up to $7.5 million with incentives, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly. A Patriots spokesman said the team had nothing to announce Sunday night. The signing was first reported by ESPN.

"I'm as excited as I don't what right now!!" Newton posted on Instagram "All praise to God!! Dropping content tomorrow!! I hope you're ready!! Let's go Pats."

The Patriots had been heading to training camp with 2019 fourth-round draft choice Jarrett Stidham as the heir apparent to Brady, who led the team to six Super Bowl championships since 2001 but signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.

Stidham appeared in three games last season, completing two passes for 14 yards with one interception.

The only other experienced QB on the defending AFC East champions' roster was 34-year-old Brian Hoyer.

Gong Lijiao

Li Tie

Rudy Gobert

Cam Newton

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