Language barrier, different lifestyles and homesick -- three coaches working overseas weightlifting teams face the silimar scenes. However, after clearing the obstacles, their hard work paid off with the improvement of world weightlifting.
Chen Xian has been working in Mexico for five years since 2003 when he was sent by China to help Mexico in weightlifting.
Despite a three-month training of Spanish, Chen still admitted that the biggest obstacle was the language barrier when he first arrived in Mexico. He learned from the lifters and gradually deepened communication with them.
From his women's team, two of his disciples have been qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the 63kg and 75kg categories.
"Our goal is to finish among the top six," he told Xinhua.
Like Chen, coach of Thai weightlifting team Zhang Baoshun, from Shenyang of northeast China's Liaoning province, also felt difficult to freely communicate with the athletes.
"The Thai I understand can only deal with training sessions," he said.
He also complained about the mosquitoes in Thailand. "My back is all covered by mosquito bites."
However, he has been working in Thailand for a year against cries from both his wife and daughter to back home to China. And he doesn't plan to quit.
"As a professional coach, I took the position, so I have to do my best," he said.
To his comfort, the Thai weightlifters get along well with him and respect him very much.
"They often bought me gifts although they don't earn much, only about 1,000 yuan (143 U.S. dollars) per month," he said.
His predecessor, also a Chinese, Zhang Jiamin, who recommended him to the Southeast Asian country, had helped the Thai weightlifting teams to get two golds at the Athens Olympics.
But Zhang Baoshun kept a low key of the gold prospect in Beijing.
"Just try my best," he said.
Tunisian weightlifting coach Trendafil Stoycheve is from Bulgaria, a silver medalist at 1976 Montreal Olympics. He became a coach in 1989 and took the helm of the Tunisian team two years ago.
"It's not easy (to compete at the Olympics)," he said, adding the two Tunisian lifters are both young and inexperienced in big international events.
"We are here to get experience and prepare for other big events in the future," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2008)