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There was a month left before the Asian Games would begin. The national team was the first to arrive in the host city, Xingkou.
The benefit of being the host city was that the athletes were already acclimated to the environment, especially the natural feeling and climate.
Each place had its own way of supporting its civilians. In ancient times, when medical conditions were undeveloped, many people who traveled long distances might die in foreign places. During that time, one had to risk their life to travel to other provinces.
As for athletes traveling for competitions, the most important thing was to adjust themselves to the new environment. Once one arrived at a new place, they would need to get acclimated to the climate, temperature, time difference, food, accommodations, etc. Athletes had to get used to the new environment and get comfortable as soon as possible so that they could perform better in their competitions.
The national team arrived at Xingkou City one month early in an effort to make athletes feel more comfortable in Xingkou.
Xingkou City was located in the southern part of the country, which provided a completely different climate from Huajing City. Moreover, the diet in Xingkou was abnormal for most northern athletes. The reason the team had arrived one month early was to ensure the athletes could get accustomed to the food.
The sprinting team was made up of five participants. Sijie Yang, Guohong Niu and Yue Zhao were the newcomers. Guohong Niu was the alternate for the relay race, and didn't have any individual contest to worry about. Sijie Yang would participate in the 100m sprint, while Yue Zhao was here for the 200m sprint.
In addition, Jun Xie and Zitao Wei would also compete. The two had attended the last Olympic games, and were at the top level in Asia. They could definitely compete for a medal. In these Asian Games, the two would both participate in the 100m and 200m sprint.
To the national team, Sijie Yang and Guohong Niu were there to gain some experience; they represented the team's future. Yue Zhao was the third participant for the 200m sprint, so the national team didn't have much faith in him. The task of competing for a medal had been given to Jun Xie and Zitao Wei.
During this one-month period, besides regular training, the sprinting team had mainly focused on practicing for the relay race. As an alternate, Guohong Niu focused on it, while others like Sijie Yang and Yue Zhao also joined in. Dai Li had taken this chance to put the entire sprinting team into the System's training list in order to gain experience points.
Four to five days before the Asian Games began, foreign teams gradually arrived in Xingkou City. The Asian Games were about to begin.
On the training field, the preliminary contest for the men's 100m sprint was about to start.
Because many sprinters also had to compete in the 200m race, in order to reduce the athletes' stress and fatigue, the 100m and 200m sprint were scheduled separately. The relay race was scheduled to be the final phase of the track and field competitions.
The three athletes for the 100m sprint were Jun Xie, Zitao Wei, and Sijie Yanghe. The first two had participated in the Olympics, although they had not achieved anything, they had been in big events before. When they stood on the field, they looked relaxed and comfortable.
In contrast, it was Sijie Yang's first time in an international-level competition. It was no wonder he was anxious.
Fortunately, passing the preliminary contest was nothing difficult to Sijie Yang. The level of Asian athletics as a whole was too low; many participants in the preliminary contest were emphasizing participation. Countries like Timor-Leste and Maldives had sprinters who were amateurs, semi-professionals, or simply sprinting enthusiasts.
The national team coaches were concentrating on the strong components. Li Xue pointed at a black athlete and introduced him to Dai Li. "That man is Clark from Qatar! He is the current Asian Flying Man!"
Dai Li looked in his direction and saw a short black athlete. He was around 1.6 meters tall. He did not look very strong, and seemed old. He seemed to be in his forties, but according to his personal information, he was thirty years old.
Clark had been born in Kenya, then domesticated to Qatar. Two years later, he gave Qatar their first Asian Championship. After another two years, he succeeded in running under ten seconds, which broke the Asian record. He became the first "Asian" to run in under ten seconds.
Clark's success had brought about a domestication trend in West Asia. Countries like Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain began to domesticate athletes from Africa. Therefore, in today's Asian Games, many black athletes could be seen.
Li Xue pointed in another direction and said, "That's Japan. See that coach whose hair is neatly combed? He used to be the king of Asian sprinting; Sasaki Akita!"
Compared to Clark, Sasaki Akita was more familiar to Dai Li. He represented an era of Asian sprinting.
Japan ruled the Asian sprinting world for about thirty years, during which emerged a "golden era." Sasaki Akita was the representative during that time. After he retired, Sasaki Akita became the sprinting coach of the Japanese sprinting team, and had now returned to the Asian Games.
Li Xue continued, "Do you see the young man next to Sasaki Akita with cropped hair? He is the gifted sprinter Oda Shoki. Oda Shoki is twenty years old; he once ran 9.97 seconds in high school. Although his performance was influenced by wind, and wasn't accepted as a record, he still amazed the Japanese athletic world.
"Oda Shoki was regarded as the future of Japanese sprinting. Even though he is only twenty, he has gained abundant experience. Last year, in the IAAF competition in Osaka, he was competing against the world's top sprinters."
"Competing against the world's best sprinters? Was he on the worst of them all?" Dai Li smiled.
"No, he was second to last," said Li Xue.
"Was there someone who couldn't surpass him?" Dai Li asked with surprise.
"One athlete committed a false start and was punished for breaking rules, so that guy didn't score. Oda Shoki was lucky to get second to last." Li Xue continued, "Sijie Yang is only several months younger than Oda Shoki, so they are supposed to be opponents. But right now, Oda Shoki has more advantages and more experience than Sijie Yang."
"The Japanese prefer to cultivate athletes by pulling prospects up in the hopes of helping them grow, which means sending groups of teenagers to international competitions to compete against twenty-year-old adults who are at the peak of their abilities. Once they win a game or two, the media keeps blabbering on about them. But once those 'geniuses' grow up, they will be forgotten," Dai Li complained.
"This might be the nature of Japanese. They like to bet on the future with the present; but athletics require athletes to grow step by step. No one can turn into Superman in one night. So, most of the time, they seem to win at the time, but they lose their future," replied Li Xue.
At that time, Dai Li had detected Oda Shoki. Oda had B+ talent on sprint, which was good, but was way lower than Sijie Yang. However, his ability points were pretty high, and much higher than Sijie Yang's. Dai Li knew such ability points were accumulated through resources.
Japan was an island country, but it was also the second developed country in the world. They had world's top sports training resources. When they put most of their resources into Oda Shoki, his ability would increase without a doubt.
In fact, Japanese athletes had similar characteristics. When they were young, they were considered "geniuses" who could only be seen once every century, and were expected to be future world champions, outperforming their peers in various competitions. However, once they grew up, they became ordinary, and were defeated by the others in contests.
Suddenly, the audience sighed in disappointment.
What? What happened? Dai Li looked around subconsciously. He could vaguely see from a distance that somebody needed help to leave the long jump sandpit. From the color of his uniform, it seemed to be an athlete from the national team.
"Our man got injured!" said Dai Li.
Meanwhile, Li Xue's phone rang. He picked it up, and his face immediately became pale.
"In the men's long jump final, Haiquan Fang twisted his ankle on his second attempt! I have to go and check on him," Li Xue said hurriedly, walking towards that direction.
"I'll go with you." Dai Li chased after Li Xue without hesitation.
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