SANA’A, Yemen (21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship): “I am proud to be a part of a great team,” reacted China’s pillar of strength – literally – Wang Zhelin after helping his team take a stranglehold in the gold medal game on Friday.
While the spotlight has been firmly on Guo Ailun even before the competition began, Wang’s 213-cm tall presence came into prominence only when push came to shove. That moment came when Korea threatened to breathe on China’s necks.
Wang seized the opportunity and poured in 27 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and became the thorn in Korea’s flesh.
“We just executed what coach told us,” said the Fujian Xunxing center amidst the Chinese expat population in Sana’A surrounding him for photographs.
“We came here to win every game. And I am happy we achieved that,” he added.
Talking about the nine-game winning spree China posted in the competition, Wang said: “One thing was for sure. We faced tougher opponents with each game.”
“All of them came really hard at us and we had to be focused all the time. There was no chance for mistakes.”
Talking of his performance in the final, Wang said: “Obviously I am happy that I am contribute substantially to this great team.”
“”And of course, we are all ready to help each other when he situation demands. But more importantly, all of us have great respect for our coach. He is a great coach.”
Looking ahead at the 2011 U19 FIBA World Championship next year he said: “We have to work hard to achieve good results.”
“And if we put in the necessary hard work and preparation we can do really well.”
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia