LOS ALAMITOS, California, September 21. THREE years away from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the United States is helping China develop a water polo program. This week, 12 teenage girls are working with Ricardo Azevedo at the USA Water Polo Training Center in Los Alamitos, California. Azevedo is the head coach at Long Beach State University.
The dozen Chinese girls, ages 15 and 16, represent 10 different parts of China and are looking to make the Chinese an international player at the 2008 Games. The majority of the 180 players involved in the nation’s developmental program are new to the sport. The Chinese arrived last week and will be in Southern California until September 23.
"They hope to have three solid years of training before the Olympics so that they will be competitive in 2008," said Azevedo. "Our women's national program is known around the world, so they wanted to come and train here. This is similar to how they became competitive in diving. It comes from their mentality that with hard work, good things will come. They really want to come in and learn about coaching and training."