Xi'an (China) Sep 15: The gold-medal team of women's quadruple sculls at the Tokyo Olympics competed in the preliminaries at China's National Games here on Tuesday.
The outstanding performance of the four women served as an impressive reminder of their moments in Tokyo.
"After stepping off the podium, everything started from scratch for them," said Zhang Xiuyun, coach of the Olympic winning team.
In fact, the four have never relaxed for a second after returning home as they have been training for the National Games. "We know teams from other provinces are making great progress," said Zhang Ling, seated in the second cockpit.
During the race, they were once overtaken by southeast China's Jiangxi Province team for almost a second, before they sped up to finish ahead of the Jiangxi team by 2.98 seconds.
On the same day, Zhang Ling and Chen Yunxia of the team also ranked first in the women's pair sculls, while Chen herself finished first again in the women's single sculls.
"We may give other teams some pressure, but they can also learn some skills from us, and the competition is a great platform for communication," Chen said.
After the unforgettable experience at the Olympics, they seem to have full confidence in pocketing the gold medal this time. "Just like cooperation and bravery, confidence is also the spirit of the game," said Zhang Ling.
Different from the athletes, coach Zhang didn't want to give them any pressure, as she just expected them to "rest for a while," and to "conduct yourself in a low profile but work in a high profile" after the Olympics. For instance, Cui Xiaotong was supposed to compete in the women's single sculls at the National Games, but Zhang canceled it since Cui suffered a thigh injury.
After the Beijing 2008, it has been a hiatus of 13 years for the Chinese women to win the Olympic gold medal. But Zhang always keeps her cool mind and hoped her disciples to put aside the honor and go ahead once again.
"If they always succumbed to the Olympic glory, they could never make any progress further either in their life or training, or in their thought," Zhang said.
Zhang considered the Tokyo Olympics as a peak for them. "So, keeping a good state of mind is important for them. Forget the thing of winning championship, and try their best in each competition, and this is the way to success," she said.
From the Tokyo Games, Zhang hopes to achieve a balance between skills over physical ability for her rowers, saying that "we must have more training, because those who paddle beautifully all have good physical abilities."
Zhang has set a clear goal for the Paris Olympics - to win golds, to win more, so that more people could pay more attention to rowing.