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May 29, 2017

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China official blames bad volleyball form on Internet

BEIJING -- The Chinese women's volleyball team spent too much time surfing the Internet, which directly contributed to their poor performance at the recent world grand prix in Japan, according to a senior official.

China, whose women have won two Olympic and multiple world volleyball titles, finished fifth with a young team in Tokyo last week, matching their worst performance at the annual tournament.

"They spend too much time online after a match or training, are too self-centred and haven't enough direct and close interaction," Li Quanqiang, deputy director of China's volleyball administration, told Monday's China Daily.

"Some players stay up late in front of the computer and get distracted by the Internet," Li told the paper, adding that it was an "ideological problem of the Internet generation".

Li's comments reflect a generation gap between the old hardliners in the Chinese sports system - who would brook no distractions in their resolute pursuit of gold medals - and the younger athletes coming through.

Women's volleyball, which in the early 1980s provided some of China's earliest breakthroughs in international sport, is one of the more conservative sports along with table tennis. Women from the national team have been sacked for having relationships with top men players.

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