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Setting a qualifying standard to judge Yue Zhao's ability sounded pretty fair.
"Then how much should this standard be?" someone immediately asked.
The meeting room fell into silence again. If the standard was too low, it would be like sending Yue Zhao directly to the Asian Games. But if the standard was too high, then it would seem like an obstacle aimed at stopping Yue Zhao from attending the game.
"Would 20.75 seconds be OK?" Li Xue asked.
Shuren Zhao replied immediately, "There are only two weeks left before the deadline. Asking Yue Zhao to improve from 20.78 seconds to 20.75 seconds, a 0.03-second increment, is quite difficult."
It was hard for high-level athletes to improve even 0.01 second. Based on Yue Zhao's current ability, to increase 0.03 seconds within two weeks would be an extreme improvement.
"Coach, I think we should give the other athletes a chance, too," somebody suddenly said. "Give me two weeks; I can make Xiong Chu run in under 20.75 seconds!"
Wei Zhang's coach then said in agreement, "I am also confident that Wei Zhang can reach the 20.75-second-standard within two weeks!"
The two coaches' attitudes clearly indicated that they were not willing to hand the chance over on a silver platter to Yue Zhao.
Shuren Zhao laughed. "Good, competition stimulates progress! Let's do it this way: not only Xiong Chu and Wei Zhang will compete, but all the other 200m sprinters can join in this competition, too. Our qualifying standard is 20.75 seconds. Whoever reaches the standard will win the ticket to the Asian Games."
"What if more than one person reaches the standard?" Coach Wang asked.
"Then we send the best one!" Shuren Zhao paused, then said, "Our team will represent our country; we must send the most competitive participants!"
Dai Li was not a formal coach for the national team, so he was not qualified to participate in the meeting. All he could do was to wait. There were two other people waiting for the results: Yue Zhao and Guohong Niu.
"The participant list for the Asian Games is posted on the bulletin board!" someone shouted. Every athlete stopped their work to see the list of names.
Sijie Yang was selected for the 100m sprint, as I expected. Dai Li checked the list carefully, but he didn't see Guohong Niu's name.
Guohong Niu was upset. He specialized in the 100m sprint, and felt that he had lost his opportunity.
"Guohong Niu, I found your name!" Yue Zhao suddenly said. He pointed at the relay race section. "See, your name is in relay race section."
Guohong Niu immediately looked up. He saw his name on the list.
"I will be in the relay race!" Guohong Niu exclaimed. Although he had missed the chance to compete in the individual games, he would still be able to be part of the relay race. This was comforting for him.
Standing next to Guohong Niu, Dai Li felt happy for him. Meanwhile, Dai Li was checking the participants for the other events.
When he reached the 200m section, Dai Li frowned.
200m sprint: Jun Xie, Zitao Wei, undetermined. Only two names are here, but no Yue Zhao. What does 'undetermined' mean? Does it imply that Yue Zhao still has a shot at going? I need to ask about this, Dai Li thought.
Soon, Dai Li heard about the qualifying standard.
Two weeks to reach the 20.75-second qualifying standard. That's not difficult for me, Dai Li thought confidently, But the others can also reach the standard, which means 20.75 seconds is not enough! It can't guarantee a spot for Yue Zhao.
Dai Li fell silent. He knew Yue Zhao needed time.
Yue Zhao's talent in the 200m sprint was undoubtedly the best on the national team, and he had mature techniques, which was also ranked amongst the top of the team. But the problem was that he had wasted almost three years. He needed more time just to get back to his original status, let alone get even better.
We have to make time for extra practice sessions! Dai Li firmly clenched his fist.
Yue Zhao crouched on the ground, retching violently. The training was intense. Yue Zhao was so tired that he vomited.
After throwing up, Yue Zhao drank half a bottle of water, then walked back to the training field.
"Coach, let's continue!" Yue Zhao's voice was filled with tiredness.
Dai Li looked at Yue Zhao's sallow face, then sighed lightly. He said with sympathy, "How about we take a break?"
Yue Zhao hesitated. He was exhausted, and really wanted to sleep on the ground. But he nodded stubbornly. "Time doesn't wait. I don't have time to rest; I need to practice."
This can't work. The current training load is above Yue Zhao's physical limits.
Dai Li was worried, but he could not do anything. He had to give Yue Zhao larger training loads, and Yue Zhao had to push through. It was not just an examination of Yue Zhao's physical fitness, but also his willpower.
The ordinary person might not have been able to hold on. But Yue Zhao was different; the misdiagnosis of bone cancer had taken three years away from him, but had also strengthened his willpower. Every time he was too tired to move, he would recall his past, remembering the bitterness he had tasted in America. It was enough to motivate him to move forward.
From 7AM to 9PM, Yue Zhao stayed in the training field, only taking short breaks for lunch and dinner. When the day's training finally ended, Yue Zhao spread out on the ground. He felt like all of his strength had been taken away from him.
If he continues like this, how much strength can he have for tomorrow? Dai Li looked at Yue Zhao worriedly.
The System's voice suddenly rang, "I have been wondering for a long time— why don't you use the endurance halo?"
Dai Li was in a daze. "The 200m is a short-distance run. Why would I use the endurance halo?"
"To increase his endurance, of course," The System continued, "The 200m does fall under the category of short-distance running, which doesn't require much endurance; but don't you forget, what you are doing is training. The endurance halo offers additional endurance, which can help athletes keep up during practice."
Dai Li suddenly understood. Why didn't I think about this earlier!
Dai Li's first halo had been the explosive force halo. From then on, he had regarded halos as equipment only used in competitions.
Since Dai Li had received the endurance halo, he had never used it. Dai Li had been coaching the sprinting team, which did not need the endurance halo's assistance. Dai Li had not considered using the halo in training, for he believed that only middle- or long-distance running required high endurance.
But what Dai Li had neglected was that sprinters who had been practicing under long, high-intensity circumstances used the same amount of energy as a long-distance runner running ten thousand meters. Yue Zhao's training load had consumed a lot more power than running ten thousand meters.
My fault. I should have thought about using the halo earlier in practice. Dai Li was upset. He patted his head, blaming his own foolishness. At least it's not very late. We still have time, Dai Li sighed, This endurance halo can be used during training. Seems like halos are the best rewards.
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