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In the Beikou Training Center, the meeting room was bustling again.
The meeting had been called by Coach Zhao, the chief coach of the national team. Compared to just days ago, however, he did not look well.
"What is he doing, does he have any idea what is going on? How dare he brag in front of the crowds about how he wants to go to Qatar! Doesn't he know that if he fails we are going to lose?!" Filled with anger, Coach Zhao slammed on the table.
"Coach Zhao, please calm down. I guess Feixiang Lin was unhappy because he did not get the selection." Coach Fang was trying to comfort Coach Zhao.
"Unhappy? He thinks he can say anything he wants simply because he is unhappy?He must have done it on purpose! He went to the media to put pressure on me, so that we have to let him go! He is trying to intimidate me! This afternoon I received a phone call from Qatar asking about Feixiang Lin's appearance fee requirement! Even the leader from the general department asked me for detailed information. What am I supposed to say?!" Coach Zhao exclaimed, pointing at his phone with anger.
"The media had already spread the news, it is too late. Moreover, the entire nation is anxiously awaiting Feixiang Lin's comeback. We will be in great trouble if we reject him now. Once the nation knows that we refused his application, they will blame on us. They do not care about how and why it is happening," said a respectful coach.
"Then what do you think? Should we really send Lin to Qatar?" asked Coach Zhao. He turned to Coach Ding. He looked at him seriously and said, "Coach Ding, Feixiang Lin is your student. This opportunity belongs to your hurdles team. What do you think we should do?"
Coach Ding knew that if he could not offer a reasonable solution that satisfied them he would be in trouble. He cleared his throat and said, "How about this: we follow our tradition and have a team pickup game that the young athletes can participate in. We select the final participant through this fair competition. Whoever has the best performance will go. This way, we can give the public an answer they can be satisfied with."
In athletics, people were judged by their abilities. It was common to have a team selection before a big competition. Take American Athletics Teams, for example: they sometimes had news that the last American world champion had been rejected from participating in the next Olympics simply because the champion had not passed the team selection.
If Feixiang Lin failed in the selection game, then the national team would have a convincing reason as to why they had not chosen him.
Coach Zhao's eyes had suddenly brightened. He was too anxious to think about this. He scratched his head and said, "A team selection game is a good idea. Let's do it!"
Feixiang Lin was the brightest star on the team; his every action attracted a lot of attention. Because of this, his application was soon widespread.
The person who had been affected most was Teng Dong.
Teng Dong was one year younger than Feixiang Lin, and was right behind him. He was the second-best competitive hurdler in the country. But to tell the truth, there was still a gap between Feixiang Lin and Teng Dong. Feixiang Lin had won the world championship several times, and was also a world record holder. Teng Dong's greatest achievement was bronze in the International Athletics Championships. He had only entered the final competition in the Athletics World Champions, and had not even taken part in the final competition in the Olympics.
But undeniably, Teng Dong was the second best Asian 110m hurdler after Feixiang Lin. Especially since Feixiang Lin's decline, Teng Dong had taken the number one spot, and the national team had been concentrating on his training. He was hard-working, and in two years he had made a lot of progress. He still might not be as good as Feixiang Lin, but he was capable of putting up a fight against some of the world's best hurdlers.
By this point, Teng Dong had already heard about Feixiang Lin's application. He was also aware of the team selection that would be taking place.
"Teng Dong, you must win. Feixiang Lin has been declining for years. He did not even go to our highland training. Even I could defeat him easily."
"Does Feixiang Lin really feel like he is just as good as he was years ago? Why doesn't he keep dreaming? The team will not take anything away from him due to the advertising endorsements."
"He hurt himself so badly that even if he has recovered, he will not be able to be as good as he once was."
"I think a team selection is a good chance to burst Feixiang Lin's bubble and tell the public the truth. The public knows nothing about his status. They think he is still the same person who amazed the world. Once we tell the public that he has failed the selection, few people will continue supporting him."
All the athletes around Teng Dong supported him, and showed their disdain for Feixiang Lin through their words.
It was common that in this field, the stronger person had the power. Years ago, when Lin had been competitive, he had a group of followers. But later, as he had begun to give up on himself, he was looked down upon by his teammates.
If Feixiang Lin could still work hard, even if he could not maintain his previous ability, he would still be worth respecting. They had been training together everyday, so who worked hard and who was killing time was very clear. Similar to being in school, straight-A students were popular, while dumb people were neglected. Those who had been studying hard but had not gotten good grades yet still received the admiration of their classmates.
But Feixiang Lin had abandoned himself. This, coupled with his special privileges, had caused him to lose support. Many hard-working athletes saw Feixiang Lin that way, and although they may not have verbally complained, they disliked him secretly. Some people had even been praying that Teng Dong would soon take Feixiang Lin's place so that the useless, depressing guy could get kicked out immediately!
However, in the center of the crowd, Teng Dong said nothing.
Teng Dong's path to the national team was similar to Feixiang Lin's. He had been a triple jumper, who later transferred to the 110m hurdles. He became famous in the Youth Games, and once won a silver medal in the World Youth Athletics Championships. He had been ranked number one in the world among youth athletes.
The same year, Feixiang Lin won the championship in the World Competition. It looked like they were similar at first glance, but in fact, Teng Dong had never defeated Feixiang Lin on the field.
The following year, Lin broke the world record, which completely separated the two of them. From then on, Feixiang Lin was developed every step of the way. He won gold in the Olympics, broke the world record, achieved a Grand Slam, and was the person to beat in 110m hurdles.
Although Teng Dong had also gotten himself some achievements, compared to Feixiang Lin, he had no advantages. When talking about 110m hurdles, people only focused on Feixiang Lin, while Teng Dong was simply a forgotten co-star.
Over the last Feixiang Lin had let himself fall, but Teng Dong had also been struggling. He knew he was not as talented as Feixiang Lin, so he could only make up the difference between them through hard work. He had given over 100% in that time, and had gained acclaim for it.
But Teng Dong was not satisfied. His ultimate goal was to defeat Feixiang Lin.
They had always been alike, but Feixiang Lin had been the barrier blocking Teng Dong's way for a while. Outperforming Feixiang Lin had almost drove Teng Dong crazy. He was dreaming of doing so.
He knew he would never be able to grow as an athlete if he could not defeat Feixiang Lin. He had challenged Feixiang Lin again and again, but had failed repeatedly—until Feixiang Lin had gotten injured, that is.
Then, when Feixiang Lin had been upset, even Teng Dong had realized that he was wrecked. Feixiang Lin would never be able to return, and Teng Dong would never have another chance to challenge Feixiang Lin on the field. Teng Dong was disappointed by this. He felt that he had been a soldier rushing forward bravely, when all of a sudden his enemy had disappeared.
But now, after two years of waiting, he had finally gotten another opportunity to challenge Feixiang Lin, in a team selection game!
Recalling what he had gone through the past two years, Teng Dong could not wait for the challenge.
Feixiang Lin, this time I will defeat you!
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