BEIJING – Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) president Yao Ming called on athletes to have faith in the Olympic spirit and endeavor to leave behind something after competing on the Olympic stage.

In an online live broadcast on Tuesday, the Chinese basketball icon gave his guidance to athletes on how to stay strong during preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.

“Actually (the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics) was an unprecedented experience for us all,” he admitted. “I think nobody can tell them how to do it exactly.”

“The most important thing is what they trust. They should have faith in the Olympic spirit, believe that they can shine on the Olympic stage and leave behind something after the Olympic Games’ experience. It’s about persistence.”

Yao witnessed the process on site as China’s women’s national team earned their ticket to the Tokyo Olympic Games with three straight victories in February, after the qualifiers were relocated from south China’s Foshan to the Serbian capital of Belgrade.

“Our country was hit by the pandemic then. Our players had huge pressure as they needed to produce results, but they had a positive response and unleashed their power in the right place at the right time,” he noted.

Shao Ting, captain of China’s women’s national team, said the results came from hard work over the past few years.

“We went to Belgrade to play the qualifiers with huge expectation. We stayed together closer than before. We trusted our team and support from people back in our motherland. We would strive for a win no matter how difficult it was,” Shao declared.

“For us, the court was another battle field. We faced up to those adversities together,” she added.

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