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Discussion in 'China Professional Players' started by Cheung, Nov 11, 2003.
ok Maybe its his trademark wearing caps
So y do you wear a cap Cheung? HEhehe follow you idol?
Tang Xian Hu
Tang Xian Hu
I take your hint. The next time when Tang comes to Singapore, I'll make sure to take a pic with him, get his autograph and present him with a BF cap (provided you can get this done without further delay).
An Exclusive from Nanfang Ribao, reported by Liang Yan (Reporter) and
Xie Sude (Reporter Intern)
He's the Wonder Coach who produced a whole line of worldbeaters
Tang Xianhu: Fame and money no longer mean anything to me
At the age of 63, veteran coach Tang Xianhu is always the one who keeps
the lowest profile in the Chinese badminton team. Sporting a red cap
which covers more than half of his wisdom-lined face, Tang Xianhu likes
to sit at one corner of the gymnasium during training, overseeing the
team's training with his gentle words. Sometimes after training, he would
gather the men doubles players, and give his training debriefing while
the players huddle close together. At such occasions, no one outside of
the men doubles team are allowed to be present. Such openly secretive
ways of the Chinese men doubles team adds on to Tang Xianhu's mysterious
Treating Trainees As His Own Kids
According to the men doubles players, Tang Xianhu has never used harsh
words on them, or lost his temper with them. When asked about his good
temperament, Tang Xianhu laughed, "I'm old, and my body can no longer
withstand me working up a storm." Having dedicated half his lifetime to
badminton, Tang Xianhu is now afflicted with a coronary heart disease.
Everytime he gets angry, he would experience difficulty breathing.
"There will always be times when things do not go your way. Sometimes
the kids in the men doubles team would get me all worked up, but I just
cannot bring myself to give them a dressing down. If I do that, they
get nervous, and then I won't be able to get a word through, so all that
I can do is to take my medicine and calm myself down."
Having coached the Chinese men singles and women singles team, as well
as the Indonesian badminton team before that, Tang Xianhu the "Wonder
Coach" is widely known in the world of badminton. But when pressed by
reporters, he kept reiterating that he has no magic formula for
"transmuting stone into gold" (a Chinese idiom which means that you take
something ordinary, and turn it into something extraordinary --- I think
here the reporter is referring to the widely held (?) belief that Tang
Xianhu can take an average badminton player, and turn him or her into a
worldbeater). His only recipe is do his best in teaching through words
and actions. Tang Xianhu argues that it is very important to be able to
communicate with the players, because he feels that a coach not only
teaches the players skills and techniques, but most importantly, he must
be able to help the players realize and develop their potentials. This
is why he hopes that all his trainess would share with him their innermost
doubts, even doubts on the coach. Only then can they grasp what their
strengths and weaknesses are on court. In the Chinese sportsmen training
system, players undergo professional training at a very tender age. To
them, the coach plays the role of both teacher and father. Take the case
of Tang Xianhu: he not only demands his trainees to polish their badminton
skills, but also require them to have an upright character. Tang Xianhu
feels that only by fulfilling this dual role would he not have let the
players' parents down.
Specializing in Men Doubles Before His Retirement
Retiring as a professional player at the age of 37, and still making his
presence felt from outside the badminton court at the age of 63, Tang
Xianhu is a miracle in the Chinese sports arena. But no matter how
remarkable he has been, no man wins a fight against time. Tapping the
side of his head, Tang Xianhu lamented, "When you are old, you have no
choice but to admit you are old. My mind is no longer as sharp as what
it used to be, and when things pile up, I can sense that my brain becomes
knotted. In times like that, all I can do is to calm myself down."
Nevertheless, Tang Xianhu does have a secret weapon against the flow of
time: focus. When he was coaching the men singles team, Tang Xianhu
never asks about how the men doubles team is doing. Now that he is
coaching the men doubles team, it has also been a while since he watched
a men singles match. So says Tang Xianhu, in his famous line, "Only when
you are focussed on doing one thing can you then do it well." At the
eve of every major tournament, Tang Xianhu would pace along the passage
way in the spectators' stand. This is how he clear out his thoughts.
Before he retires, Tang Xianhu set himself a very definite goal: to bring
the Chinese men doubles out of its current doldrums, and then he would
retire two years later, whatever the outcome.
The Chinese team still has two long training periods before the Athens
Olympics. During this time, there are still some major problems that
require his attention. Although Tang Xianhu did not disclose in full
details what his plans are for the next phase of the training, he did
raise a specific example during the interview. "In the Hong Kong Open,
the Chinese men doubles pair Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng apparently did not know
how to take advantage of the draft when playing against the Indonesian
pair Sigit Budiarto-Tri Kusharyanto. They also need to improve the
quality of their serves. All this look like minor details, but they
will be the key in deciding whether our pairs make or break in future
tournaments." Doing things from bottom up has always been the style
of Tang Xianhu. When asked about the Athens Olympics next year, Tang
Xianhu said emphatically, "The Chinese men doubles player will perform."
The Chinese badminton team has always been worried about the stagnant
level of its men doubles. To be tasked with such a difficult assignment
just before his retirement, Tang Xianhu shows no signs of worrying that
he would not live up to his name of the "Wonder Coach". "I have had
failures in training teams, but nobody remembers them; they only remember
all the success stories that I have had. When I received my assignment,
I had no second thoughts. If this is what I am asked to do, I will do it.
The thought of not making the mark and how it might affect my reputation
never crossed my mind." Having dedicated half a lifetime to badminton,
what's fame and money to Tang Xianhu?
Determined to Return to Fujian
Tang Xianhu does not speak very fluent Mandarin --- he still speaks with an
Indonesian accent. "When I was schooling, there are no schools teaching
Chinese in Indonesia. I learned Chinese only when I came back to China.
Even now I cannot speak the language well, and there are many characters
that I do not recognize. Sometimes I have to resort to Bahasa Indonesia
to express myself." After retiring as a professional player, Tang Xianhu
took up a coaching position in Indonesia, and returned to China only in
1997. Even now, many of the Indonesian players still miss their wise
old coach. As proud as he is, Taufik Hidayat felt that letting Tang
Xianhu leave Indonesia must surely be the most dumb thing that the PBSI
Although he was born and raised in Indonesia (his youngest son and daughter
were also born in Indonesia), Tang Xianhu cannot be sure whether he has
spent a larger part of his life in Beijing or in Indonesia. But he tell
himself all the time that he is Chinese, and said, "After I retire, I
must return to my ancestral home in Fujian to live the rest of my days."
Apparently, a lifetime with badminton is not enough for Tang Xianhu,
who cannot be separated from badminton even in his leisure time. When
resting at home, he would still watch the telecast of badminton tournaments,
and he never seems to get sick of it. "Badminton is my hobby. I am
truly fortunate to be able to blend my hobby in with my work."
Tang Xianghu has three children. His eldest daughter is 30 odd, and the
son and daughter borne of his second wife are now 11 and 8 years old
respectively. Because he spend most of his time with the team in Beijing,
Tang Xianhu has been living away from his wife and children who are in
Fujian. He feels guilty about not being able to be with them. "Such a
heavy burden I have placed on my wife."
Being away from his children most of the time, Tang Xianhu cherishes
deeply the precious few moments he does spend with them. The reporter
recalls seeing Tang Xianhu's daughter crying two years ago, and Tang
Xianhu still remembers why. "It's all Gong Ruina's fault, teasing her
and saying that if she keeps eating sweets, she will not have pretty
teeth. That's how she started crying." As a compensation from a derelict
father, Tang Xianghu dotes on his children. "I won't say I am spoiling
them. We have not been well to do, so now that times are getting better,
surely we want to let our children enjoy the better things in life."
However, when asked whether he harbors hope of his young son and daughter
following in his footsteps, Tang Xianhu bares his reservations. "The
kids have had a good life, and won't be able to withstand hardship. That
is a great obstacle to making it in life."
Phew! Sure was one looooooong article!
cheongsa, thanks again for such an excellent translation! it is an excellent article.
(off topic discussion moved here :
Ha cheongsa, u beat me to it. Your translation sounds so much more natural than mine. But it's good to know that our choice of words are pretty similar. I'm taking it as a practice for my exam in two weeks.
ohh, thank you, thank you