Tuesday 31: The first three Chinese sports coaches and their interpreter arrived on the island at the weekend to help local athletes prepare for the September Pacific Mini Games.
The three coaches are Dong Xuezhi of the Beijing Sport University, Li Shengyue of Qinghai Province and female coach and Chinese national hammer thrower Qiao Weiming.
The trio is accompanied by translator Watson Hu who told Cook Islands News that the team is so far just coming to terms with the slow paced way of life on the island.
“When we arrive to this new land, we have seen seldom people. It is so small,” says Hu.
“We have been thinking where are all the people and what are they doing because in China you see people everywhere.”
Due to athletes going through final preparations for the Cook Islands Games starting on Saturday after the opening ceremony on Friday, the three coaches will begin their coaching programme after the games.
They will be using the local games as an opportunity to observe athletes and how each code runs as sports such as oe vaka are new to the coaches.
The team will be here for about four months before a technical team from China arrives.
The coaches will be mostly concentrating on lifting the fitness levels of local athletes including building stamina, agility and speed.
All three coaches are highly accomplished athletes and coaches within their respective provinces.
Dong Xuezhi is a former Chinese decathlon athlete and has reportedly broken national records a number of times.Xuezhi was a foreign aid coach in Kuwait, head coach of track
and field team of Shandong Province, and was on the organising committee of 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics.
He reportedly has a basic English speaking ability.
Qiao Weiming’s athletics team has won championships in numerous Province Competitions and began working as a coach 1998. She was a national hammer thrower and has coached a number of well known Chinese athletes who took part in the Beijing Olympics.
Weiming was ranked third in a recent national competition in the discipline of javelin.
Li Shengyue specialises in coaching track and field athletes especially middle and long distance running athletes.
He was previously chief coach of track and field and head coach of middle and long-distance
running of the Qinghai Province. - Matariki Wilson