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China should learn more from US, Brazil in beach volleyball
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Chinese players have been making good achievements in international competitions in past years but China should learn more from countries with a much better development level in beach volleyball, Chinese head coach said on Monday.

"We should learn more from the United States and Brazil. They are really strong in this sport," said Miao Zhihong.

Since the television-friendly sport made its debut at the Olympics in 1996, the United States has won the men's event twice and Brazil was awarded the gold in 2004 Athens Games. In the women's version, the Americans were champions in 2004 and the Brazilians won the title in 1996.

At the Beijing Games, the two countries are both sending two teams in each gender to compete, the maximum number of teams a National Olympic Committee can send.

Beach volleyball was originated in the United States in the 1920s and the sport is widely played among ordinary people in the country. Both the United States and Brazil have developed a mature domestic tour system, setting a solid basis for the development of the sport.

Miao attributed the good results the Chinese players achieved in the past years to their "hard working".

"They really train and play hard," said Miao.

Chinese men duo Xu Linyin/Wu Penggen have gained five silver medals and two bronzes on the FIVB World Tour tournaments and is temporarily placed second on the World Tour rankings.

Women pairs Tian Jia/Wang Jie and Zhang Xi/Xue Chen are at the third and fourth places respectively on the rankings. Tian/Wang are winners of three FIVB World Tour gold medalists, while Zhang/Xue have captured four gold medals.

The three teams will play at Beijing Olympics and are expected to deliver a much better performance than in the past Olympics.

China's best Olympic finish was made by Tian Jia, teamed up with Wang Fei, at Athens Games. They were placed ninth.

Miao declined to forecast what the Chinese teams will achieve at the Beijing Olympics.

"We are hopeful to get a good result." he said, trying to play down the public's expectation for a possible breakthrough on home sand.

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2008)

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