December 11, 2015 / 8:39 AM / 3 years ago

Chinese team to get military preparation for Rio

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s table tennis team will begin training at an army base this month in preparation for next year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, hoping to get a little military discipline, state news agency Xinhua said on Friday.

“Military training is a way to reinforce the team’s unity and temper their willpower,” head coach Liu Guoliang, a former Olympic and world table tennis champion, told Xinhua.

China’s team began training in military facilities a few years ago, and it has since become a tradition for the Asian powerhouse who won all four table tennis gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics.

This year’s camp for the first team players will take place from Dec. 22 to 28 in the frigid northeastern province of Liaoning, while the rest of the team stay in Beijing and train there, the report added.

“For table tennis powerhouse China, competition is somehow like a war that must be won. So it always moulds its table tennis squad like an army, literally,” Xinhua said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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