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The next day, Jinrong Lu left, and Dai Li began paying attention to the National Track and Field "Youth Training Program" Jinrong Lu had told him about.
Dai Li searched online, but he could not find anything relevant to the program. There was nothing on the official website of the track and field administration center, either. Because of this, Dai Li decided to ask Bin Lu. As a coach for the provincial youth track and field team, it was possible that Bin Lu might know something about it.
In the Youth Track and Field Head Coaches' office.
"The National Track and Field Youth Training Program?" Bin Lu repeated. "I think I have heard of it before, let me think about it…"
Bin Lu frowned as he thought for a while, then finally raised his head. "I remember! There is such a thing. The last one was five years ago before I was the head coach of the youth team. This is a great opportunity! If you get selected by the national team and your name gets on the program list, it means you are ready to join the national team. In addition, when the national team selects excellent coaches, they usually start from that list. This is actually a shortcut to getting on the national team!"
Bin Lu sat up straight, then continued asking, "What made you ask me this? It was five years ago. According to the name, however, I reckon this plan is about to start up again."
Dai Li did not hide anything. He said, "Coach Jinrong Lu told me that. He said the new training program is about to begin, and that soon our bureau will notify us. He asked to me sign up."
"This is good!" Bin Lu smiled and said, "I remember that this is specifically for excellent coaches under 30-years-old. You will be twenty-four or twenty-five this year, right? Age is not a problem for you. If you really want to get in, I will keep an eye on the notification for you. I will let you know immediately once the sign-up starts."
"Thank you, Coach!" Dai Li said delightfully.
Dai Li had been worried that their friendship would end if he left the team soon and joined the adult sports team, but now he knew that he did not have to worry about it. Bin Lu was still going to treat him as "one of them".
"No one is better than you when it comes to sports performance, and it is a sure thing that we will sign you up. I will help you as well. Call the head coach of the track and field team, Weidong Chu, and ask him to give you a hand, too," Bin Lu continued.
"Coach Chu and I are only acquaintances, so I doubt that…" Obviously Dai Li was uncertain about whether Weidong Chu would help him or not, as they did not know each other very well.
"You will be part of Chu's team soon and you are worried that he will not give you a hand? Besides, if you make it on the list of the Youth Training Program, you will be a good resource. Weidong Chu is not an idiot. How could he not support you?"
It took a little over half a month before the news of the National Track and Field Youth Training Program arrived at the provincial sport bureau. The provincial sport bureau promptly posted it on their website to notify all the coaches to download the signing sheet if they were interested in joining, and to then deliver it to the provincial sport bureau. The provincial sport bureau would choose only one coach out of all the candidates, which meant there would only be one person eligible to join the national team. Just as Jinrong Lu had said, there was "limited space".
Everyone knew what a wonderful opportunity this was. You had the privilege of being trained by the national team. This was like young doctors getting the chance to be trained in a top hospital like Xiehe Hospital, Huaxi Hospital, or Ruijin Hospital. Young doctors would die for an opportunity like that.
Unfortunately, however, there were not many people that qualified for it. The "under thirty" age restriction would rule out 90% of the coaches.
The higher the level of the team, the older the coaches usually were. Coach was the kind of job that valued experience, again similar to a medical profession—the older, the better. One was usually considered to be in their prime once they were in their mid-40s or 50s.
At that age, people were already experienced in leadership, and had the energy to work in the training space. If they were younger than this, they would lack experience; if they were older than this, they would physically not be able to spend much time on the training base.
Many coaches started out as professional athletes. For them, it was normal to retire when at the age of thirty, at which point they would become an assistant coach and work their way up from from there. When they gained some experience and won some awards, they would usually be over 40-years-old, which would rule them out from taking part in the national Youth Training Program.
There were not many coaches who qualified for the Youth Training Program, which meant Dai Li did not have a lot of competition.
Of course there were still some athletes who had retired earlier, at around the age of twenty, and began their coaching careers. However, being young usually meant being inexperienced, or at least that you would not be given many opportunities on the provincial team. Young coaches normally had to work here for at least seven or eight years before they were able to train on the team independently.
Dai Li had an advantage, as he was already a training coach who had led the youth long jump team.
Other coaches who met both qualifications of being under 30-years-old and leading a team independently were not as good as Dai Li. The athlete that had trained under Dai Li had just broken the U16 jumping record, while the other coaches' students were probably still fighting over the opportunity to sign up for the competition.
Peng Wang was 27-years-old this year. Two years earlier, he had signed up to take the organized personnel examination after he had gotten his master degree. He then signed up for the physical fitness coach position on the provincial team, and came out on top amongst all the hundreds of candidates, successfully becoming the physical fitness coach in the end.
Peng Wang was a goal-oriented person. He did not want to be a fitness coach his entire life. He downloaded the entry form as soon as he saw the news, and planned to sign up for the National Youth Training Program.
Peng Wang was walking through the administrative area with confidence, his entry form in-hand.
I have a masters degree in training theory, while most candidates only have a diploma from junior college. I think I can get into the training program! Thinking of this, Peng Wang smiled to himself confidently.
He went to the office and knocked on the door, then walked in and said, "Hi, I am here to drop off my entry form."
"Is it for the Youth Training Program?" Someone who had been in the office for years smiled upon receiving the entry form from Peng Wang.
"Excuse me, how many people have signed for this so far?" Peng Wang asked.
"Not many, just four, including you," the person answered.
"Only four? That is not a lot." Peng Wang was surprised. He knew there would not be many coaches qualified for the program, but there were so many coaches on the provincial team. Why were there only four people who had signed up?
"This is an opportunity to train with the national team. It is such a great opportunity, yet they are not coming?" Peng Wang murmured.
"It is not that they are not coming, but that they are not confident enough in their ability. They do not think they will be selected!" the person laughed and said. "I bet you do not know this yet, but Dai Li from the youth track and field team also signed up for this. I'm pretty sure he will be selected to the national team to train!"
"Dai Li? I think I have heard his name before." Peng Wang then asked, "Was he the coach who broke the national record in the last National Youth Games?"
"Yeah, who else would he be? The genius who broke the national record was picked by the national team. Dai Li had such a great performance. He should be the one to join the national team training without a doubt!" the person said.
Peng Wang was upset. He wanted to take back his entry form.
Training valued sports performance. Peng Wang's master degree certificate was useless compared to a real record.
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