Lang Ping, head coach of China's national women's volleyball team, delivers her acceptance speech after being awarded the Coach of the Year at the 2016 CCTV Sports Personality Award in Beijing. (Provided by China Sports Photo)
NBA legend Yao Ming has been named as president of the Chinese Basketball Association. Now expectations are high that Lang Ping will take over as Chinese volleyball chief.
Lang, who is recovering from a hip surgery in her Los Angeles home, said that won't happen.
"I haven't considered being the president of the Chinese Volleyball Association. I would rather study volleyball techniques than become an official," said Lang.
Lang, the first person to have won the Olympic volleyball gold medal both as coach and player, received a hip replacement surgery in Chicago on January 19 and returned to her Los Angeles home in early March, and will get her left hip replaced as well in a few months.
The rehabilitation goes better than expected, said Lang, adding "I couldn't do breaststroke swimming for many years due to hip injuries, and now I can do it very well, without any pain."
Her daily rehab training, which features bike riding, strength training, stretching and swimming, lasts over an hour.
"Since the left leg hasn't received surgery, my two legs are not as same long for the time being," she said. "The right one is about one centimeter longer."
No longer as the Chinese women's team coach though, Lang will return to Beijing to "offer suggestions in building a new national team."
"As a veteran in volleyball, I am pleased to do such work," she said.
Asked whether she would regain the helm of the women's team, Lang said it depends on doctors' decision.
"With poor physical condition, I will be irresponsible if I continue to be the coach. Being head coach requires strength, attention and time," she said.
"At least it seems impossible for me to be the coach this year," she added.
Li Quanqiang, director of the Chinese volleyball administrative center, visited Lang in Chicago after her surgery.
"The most important thing for Coach Lang is to recover from surgeries, and we had a very good talk. I am sure she would return as China coach," Li said.
Although she declines to be the Chinese volleyball chief herself, Lang is certain that Yao Ming will do a good job as the basketball president.
"Yao has NBA experience, and he is young, sagacious and courageous," said Lang. "I believe he and his colleagues will push Chinese basketball to a new level."
China is planning a deepening reform on domestic volleyball leagues, like expanding the duration to five months, adding more matches and teams, bringing in playback system and restoring all-star games.
"With more teams and more professional players, the national teams can have more choices," Li said.
Li disclosed that China will bring in a foreign coach for the men's team, as they missed both the London and Rio Olympics.
"The search for a high-level foreign coach is going on," Li said.
Lang calls for an expansion of the volleyball-playing population in China, especially on school campus.
"China should also attract more teenagers to play volleyball, just as Italy, the United States and Brazil do," Lang said.