Chinese volleyball star Zhu Ting eyes academic success aside from Olympic challenges
Zhu Ting [Photo/Xinhua]
Apart from the huge task of the Olympic title defence at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, Chinese volleyball star Zhu Ting now has another mountain to climb.
The captain of the Chinese women's volleyball team registered this week at Beijing Normal University, pursuing a master's degree in history.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Zhu revealed her desire to truly demonstrate the Chinese team's capabilities at Tokyo 2020, as well as expectations towards her new school life.
"We (the Chinese women's volleyball team) hope that the Olympic Games will be held successfully because we have been fighting for this for four years," said the 25-year-old.
One of the most recognizable faces in Chinese sport, Zhu admitted that the COVID-19 outbreak had a big impact on the Chinese team's build-up to Tokyo 2020 as all international competitions have been cancelled because of the epidemic.
"But we are still training in a systematic and focused way. And it appeared a good chance for us to get down to our own weaknesses," said Zhu.
Zhu comes from a small village in China's central Henan Province, where she grew up one of five daughters of a poor farming family. The farm girl-turned Olympian wants to be successful off the court, and be more than just a well-known name to sports fan.
"Hopefully I can enrich myself through studies here," Zhu said. "I can't wait to experience university culture. It is a brand-new experience for me."
When asked about the academic challenges in the future, Zhu said she would grasp the nettle and strive to achieve academic goals without affecting her training.
Some even voiced concerns about whether the "volleyball star" could fit into campus life and whether she would be troubled by admirers.
Zhu replied "It's fine, because when your status changes, it becomes more about seeking advice from each other. My classmates can ask me about volleyball, and in turn I can ask them about my study. I am so looking forward to my college life in the new semester."