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Japanese Coach Censured for Betraying Country
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Japan's "god mother" in synchronized swimming Masayo Imura is to sign a contract and lead Chinese team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Lmura's coaching evokes a great disturbance in Japan, who has been criticized betraying her country, though China's General Administration of Sports keeps low profile regarding to the top international coach's arrival, China Youth Daily reports yesterday.

The 56-year-old woman coach headed Japan's synchronized swimming team since 1978, helping Japanese team in the past 30 years win three gold, one silver and four bronze medals in Asian and Olympic Games.

Masayo Imura officially announced her plan to become the head coach of Chinese synchronized swimmer during recently concluded Doha Asian Games. The news break out only days after China exceeded Japan, which had been the dominant power in Asian synchronized swimming, defeats in both the duet and team events at Asian Games.

An anonymous officer didn't admit Masayo Imura has already arrived in Beijing and began to consult with Chinese sports administration on the contract until afternoon of Christmas day.

He further explained that the low-profile attitude has resulted form the Japan' over-extreme deprecation against the coach's new contract.

Imura held a press conference as leaving Japan, clarifying that she is not helping China to beat over Japan, but would like to cultivate leadership to compete against non-Asian dominating powers like Europe, America, and Australia in international synchronized swimming field.

"I believe Japan's international profile and leadership in the sport will beneficial if a person from the country coaches the national team of an Olympic host." Lmura said.

Yu Li, senior official with General Administration of Sports is critical of constant reports on Japan's coach in synchronized swimming Masayo Imura,

"It is not the first time to invite a foreign coach for the national team, Yu said with a sigh, "Why don't' you all so interested in it this time?"

Yu didn't hope the media to exaggerate the Japanese coach's capacity, for lmura is to guide training irregularly.

"We didn't expect that Masayo Imura's arrival has echoed throughout the Japanese society, on one hand, "Yu said, "It is common to for a foreign coach works for Chinese national teams.

"More importantly," Yu showed her worries, "what I am concerned about is the overweening coverage would be likely to affect Chinese coaches' work passion."

Another officer in the center said that the agreement hasn't arrived yet as reported.

China synchronized swimming team previously was considering Canada or Russian coaches, but the training programs they set down was not suitable for Chinese swimmer. The plan thus delayed, another officer told the newspaper.

Picking up China from another four countries at the end, Masayo Imura showed her firm in coaching Chinese team. "If proper, reporters will be invited to watch the swimming team's training programs to taste the different "sino-japan" cooperation."

"The women coach is to head the national team soon despite the consult still under discussion," the officer added.

(China Daily December 27, 2006)

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