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Lang Ping smiles confidence at homeland competition
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Even in the dilemma of leading a foreign team to fight against the Chinese team at her homeland, the U.S. women's volleyball coach Jenny Lang Ping has shown confidence to the approaching Olympic competition.

"I'm very happy to participate in the Games, especially this time here in Beijing. I hope we can give the best performances here," said Lang, who just arrived at the Beijing Capital International Airport on Saturday afternoon.

The world's fourth-ranked U.S. team, grouped with defending champion China in the preliminaries, is regarded as a strong medal competitor together with Russia, Brazil and Cuba.

"We are here to have the best performances, hopefully bring home a medal, and the gold will be the best," said Danielle Scott Arruda, a middle blocker of the U.S. team.

China has played against the U.S. for seven times and kept a 5-2 win-loss record since Lang took the helm of the American team in 2005.

But Lang led her team to beat China after five-set tussle in the last match at the final round of the World Grand Prix in July, ranking the fourth with a 2-3 win-loss record, while China finished with a dismal fifth place.

The inevitable head-to-head clash between China and the U.S. at the Beijing Games has aroused even more attention than other matches among the Chinese fans, as discussions spread on how this once most famous Chinese volleyballer can find the balance between her coach role and her Chinese origin.

Lang, who also coached the Chinese team in the 1990s, smiled but declined to make any comment on the hard topic.

Her player, however, has shown great confidence in Lang and Chinese fans,

"We know Jenny is very famous here and I believe the home fans will also give us a lot of support. Hopefully, the support will give us advantages. A lot of people will cheer for our team and to Jenny to be successful," said Scott.

According to Scott, the Americans have made preparations against the fast attacks of the Chinese and Lang has asked her team to "stay calm and be patient" when playing against China.

"We have a very well-rounded team and very experienced staff, I hope we can put these advantages together and be victorious," she said.

Twelve women's teams are divided into two groups to compete in the preliminary round of the Olympic tournament in Beijing that run through August 9-17. The knockout stage runs from August 19 to 23.

The Americans will meet Japan in their first match on August 9.

(Xinhua News Agency August 3, 2008)

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