How does your coach motivate you? How about dressing up in a Tai Chi outfit and singing? Not your typical motivational tactic, but it’s certainly working for the girls of the Nanjing women’s rugby youth team.
Just a year after taking up the sport, five players, aged between 13 and 15, have been selected for final trials for the Chinese Youth Olympic Games rugby squad after impressing in training.
The fast and furious sport of rugby sevens will make its debut on an Olympic programme at Nanjing 2014. And the chance to represent China at a home Games is inspiring the young stars.
Fifteen-year-old Yan Meiling is the captain of Nanjing women’s youth team. She admitted she fell for the game immediately when she started to play it and now she’s rugby crazy!
“My favourite parts of the game are scrummaging and lineouts,” she said.
“It’s really exciting whenever we race against each other or battle for the ball too.”
Wu Fan, 14, explained how she felt the urge to up her training after a challenging experience against another team.
“We had a game with the Xuzhou team once, and it was a really tough one!” she said. “Their players were bigger and stronger than us, so besides improving our skills, I think we needed to toughen up as well.”
Although the two hours of training every day sounds hard, Yan also revealed the girls still have lots of fun, which is what the YOG are all about, after all!
“One of the happiest moments for us is listening to one of our coaches singing after a hard day’s training.
“He will take off his serious face, put on his Tai Chi outfit and perform songs for us,” Yan said, as she and the rest of the girls burst into laughter.