Australian Tom Maher, who replaced Gong Luming as head coach of the national women's basketball team, said he was quite familiar with Chinese basketball and ready to lead the team to a new level.
Maher arrived in Beijing midnight on Friday when he was welcomed by officials of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and a bunch of journalists at the Beijing International Airport.
"I've been watching Chinese basketball for 13 years, and I've spent lot of time studying Asian basketball, like South Korea, Japan and China. I'm familiar with the teams, because they were all at Athens (Olympic Games)," Maher said.
The CBA announced on Wednesday that Maher, former boss of New Zealand's women's team, will be the new head coach of the Chinese team, who lost to New Zealand 79-77 and failed in earning a berth into the top eight in the Athens Games.
The 52-year-old Maher led Australian national women's team to the third place in 1996 Atlanta Games, and to win silver medal in 2000 Sydney Games.
He became the first Australian to coach in the WNBA (Washington Mystics) in 2001.
In 2004 Athens Olympics, he sent New Zealand to the eighth place.
"Who wouldn't be with the Chinese basketball program to make them a better team? They have a lot of young players. Any coach would want to be part of the Chinese program," Maher said.
(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2005)