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"Hello, Mr. Wang!"
"Hello, Mr. Wang!"
The suited man in his fifties had just entered the public office area when everyone came up to him to say hello. He nodded his greetings to them.
The man was Qinghe Wang, a member of the board of directors of the Dingtian Group, and general manager of Sky Height Real Estate Co., Ltd.—a subsidiary of the Dingtian Group. He was deeply trusted by the chairman of the group, as he had been following the chairman from the very beginning of the company.
Walking through the public office area, he went back to his office by the elevator. The employees in the public office area, however, were taking part in a heated discussion.
"Mr. Wang went to see Director Xiao again! Mr. Wang is the boss here; if he wants anything, he can have her come to his office. Why did he bother to go down to her office? This Director Xiao is really favored by Mr. Wang."
"Well, I think Mr. Wang might have taken a fancy to Director Xiao. Xiao is so beautiful that every man would fall for her. Mr. Wang might want to get involved with someone younger this time."
"It's possible. Yunan Xiao is only about 24 or 25, yet she was appointed director of the Planning Department. She must have connections somehow, and might have something with Mr. Wang …"
"Stop talking nonsense!" Nearby, someone approached them and interrupted their conversation. "You should never say anything like that. Don't you know that calamity comes from gossip?"
"We get it. How dare we gossip about Mr. Wang! We won't talk about it anymore! Brother Hu, please rest assured; we won't get you into any trouble."
"You people are really troublesome. You don't do any of your work well, but you gossip all day. What's worse, your gossip wasn't even accurate!" Brother Hu sighed. "You gossip so much every day. Don't you know who Yunan Xiao is?"
"Brother Hu, do you have any insider information? Tell us now!" The small group of people came closer to him immediately.
"Use your brain and think about what the surname of this Yunan Xiao is!" said Brother Hu.
"Xiao, of course!" one of his listeners said, with an expression of slow-witted loveliness.
Brother Hu was helplessly annoyed. "You fool! Of course I know her family name is Xiao! Don't you realize the family name of our chairman is also Xiao?"
"Oh my god! Is Yunan Xiao a relative of our Big Boss Xiao?" someone exclaimed.
Brother Hu nodded. "She is the daughter of our chairman. She came back from America not too long ago."
"Oh my, she is the princess of our company!"
"My god, a girl worth hundreds of billions of yuan! Right in front of me!"
Some of them began to gossip again.
On the training ground of the SWAT team, Dai Li was looking at the officers who were standing in a line in front of him.
These are all the participants for the half marathon that had been selected by the SWAT team. They may not have been the best athletes on the team, but they were definitely good at long-distance running. Although they were not so good compared to professional runners, they were very good compared to amateurs.
Suddenly, Dai Li felt a tinge of maladjustment.
In Dai Li's mind, he had always been unlucky. All his trainees had had different problems; Feifei Yu was fat, Feixiang Lin had given up on himself, the shot put team would lose every match, the long jump team was drained of all their talent, Chong Lin had mentality issues, Sijie Yang had wanted to be a photographer instead of an athlete, and Yue Zhao had been misdiagnosed.
Everywhere he went, Dai Li had never actually been able to conduct his coaching without any disturbances. But now, Dai Li felt his luck had finally come. Though the training was not long, the training process was smooth, without any incidents.
What made things even better for Dai Li was that there were three SWAT police among the participants. For them, the 10,000-meter run was just a daily training exercise, so a half marathon was not too difficult for them.
Besides those three, there was one police officer who was a former special force soldier, and had transferred to the police team only last year. He was in excellent physical condition. He had used to run cross-country carrying several dozens of kilograms of weight. It was a piece of cake for him to run a half marathon.
The SWAT officers, the former special force soldier, and any other police officers were all stronger than the ordinary marathon aficionado. This was the first time that Dai Li had felt that he had a team of excellent trainees.
The date of the match arrived very quickly.
The popularity of the half marathon was growing more quickly than any other sport in recent years. A half marathon was 21.0975 kilometers, which was a little more than two 10,000-meter races.
As a match to promote national fitness, the Jinyan Lake half marathon had no special requirements for the participants. A lot of long-distance running lovers had signed up for it, and even more contestants were citizens who had never run a marathon. These contestants did not want any praise; they only wanted to see if they could run to the finish line, and some were just there to watch the race.
Signing up was easy. As long as you brought a valid form of ID, filled out a form, and got a number plate, you could go to the starting zone. Many onlookers signed up for the match last minute. It was very crowded by the Jinyan Lake.
Compared with the individuals who signed up last minute, the teams of the enterprises and public institutions were more like regular armies who had their team leaders, wore the same clothing, had their own slogans, and had special logistics team for provisions such as drinks. Some even had their cheering squads.
Companies in good standing in Huajing City were all big ones, especially the time-honored state-owned enterprises (SOEs), of whom many were founded at the beginnings of the country. These state-owned enterprises had been in existence from planned economy to market economy, and had gone through the SOE reform, restructuring, and laid-off worker booms. Those still in operation had more experience in organizing such activities than the national team had in participating in the Olympics.
As for the public institutions, they were even better at the organization of events like this. Huajing City was the political center of the nation and tended to have a vast variety of events going on each year. It was business as usual for them to organize employees to take part in group activities like this.
Standing at the roadside, Baogang Liu looked at the event in full confidence.
On the racing suits of many teams was each company's name, such as "___ Paper,""___ Pharmacy,""___ Bank," etc.Others had printed slogans like "Serving the People" on their tracksuits.
In Baogang Liu's opinion, however, they were only here to make up the number.
Baogang Liu was the coach in charge of the training for the national marathon team. He had been asked by the Dingtian Group to coach the company's participants. The company had paid him well. To earn this money, he had even asked for his annual leave to focus on the training.
It was no strange thing for a coach to earn some quick money in his or her spare time. Every national team coach had his or her own way of doing this. The national team did not object nor encourage this kind of thing, as long as their official work was not affected.
As a national team coach, he was surely qualified, and was more than skilled enough to train ordinary people. The Dingtian Group had also given him a good team; the members were all veterans.
As a mega enterprise, the Dingtian Group would go to the job fair looking for veterans every year. Veterans had great of discipline, were easier to manage, and could bear hardships better than ordinary people. This made them more reliable than employees recruited through other means. Those who were chosen by the Dingtian Group were the elites among the veterans, with excellent capabilities.
The Dingtian Group was determined to win the team championship of this half marathon. Baogang Liu had not wasted any of the company's resources, and in just a few weeks, he had trained a very strong marathon team for the Dingtian Group.
Baogang Liu was very confident about the Dingtian Group's team, but he continued observing other teams. This was his experience he had accumulated during his many years of coaching kicking in.
"Construct Educational System, Promote Social Development." They must be from the Education Bureau. They all have fair and tender skin; they are surely a bunch of sedentary guys judging off their looks.
The members of the other team over there are more tan. That should be due to sunburn. They are reporters for the Huajing Paper! No wonder. They go out for interviews every day. It makes sense that they would be tanned.
This team is from Qinghua University. They are quite a big team. Some look like athletes, but most of them are ordinary teachers and students. Those university students are quite enthusiastic about this half marathon.
Oh? The Sports Bureau also have their own team here, and are even being lead by Mr. Qian, the Director General! There's Li, Wang… Baogang Liu shook his head quietly. He saw quite a few people he knew, one of whom had once been a professional athlete.
Wang was a national champion in the 10,000-meter run! But that was ten years ago. He retired from the national team five or six years ago. He was so strong as an athlete, yet now he has a beer belly.
Baogang Liu knew that it required daily training for an athlete to maintain his or her condition. Yet for top athletes, even if they stuck to their training every day, their condition would deteriorate as they aged. An athlete could not even maintain 30% of his or her top performance after five or six years of retirement.
Judging from my observation, there is no strong team at all except for the Dingtian Group's team, which is my group. We are certain to win the team championship, Baogang Liu thought to himself.
"Coach Liu, how is it? Are there any strong opponents?" asked a sweet girl's voice.
Hearing this, Baogang Liu knew that Yunan Xiao had come up behind him. She had such a distinctive voice.
"Hi, Director Xiao!" he said with a big smile on his face. Even at his age, he was eagerly attentive to young and beautiful girls.
"Director Xiao, I have looked through the other teams and did not find any strong adversaries. I think we are easily going to win this." As he was speaking, he suddenly saw a team in blue tracksuits.
Oh? Is that a professional team? I certainly see some professional qualities in them. Baogang Liu began assessing them almost immediately. Such was the instinct of a first-class coach.
Baogang Liu had seen many teams before, but this team wearing blue tracksuits had a different aura of professionalism about them, one which only some professional-grade long-distance runners possessed. Prior to seeing this, Baogang Liu had only seen this in their own training team.
A strong opponent! Baogang Liu felt his heart skip a beat. In this kind of competition, there are no professional teams. These people look like a quasi-professional team. But this is the marathon. Who are they?
Baogang Liu looked carefully, and finally saw clearly the team's slogan.
Faithfully Guard the Safety of the People, Baogang Liu repeated the short slogan to himself. There are not many units that use these words as slogans. It's the police! Only the police would use this slogan.
Baogang Liu took a deep breath. He knew that the ability of the police team participants was absolutely not inferior to that of the Dingtian Group's team. The Dingtian Group could gather more than ten outstanding veterans, but the police team could do the same, and may even find more excellent talents.
They should also have professional sports coaches. Otherwise, there wouldn't be that aura of professionalism pro athletes have, Baogang Liu thought. The next second, he saw Dai Li appear with the police team.
"Dai Li!" Baogang Liu couldn't help exclaiming.
"Coach Liu, do you see an acquaintance? Maybe he is a colleague of yours!" Yunan Xiao said, looking in the same direction as Baogang Liu.
"Yes, a colleague," Baogang Liu simply nodded. "That team in blue tracksuits over there should be the police team."
"Which one is your colleague?" Yunan Xiao immediately asked.
"The seventh young man from the left," Baogang Liu replied.
Yunan Xiao saw Dai Li. Although she was far away and could not see him clearly, Yunan Xiao could tell that he was not so old, and about her own age.
"Coach Liu, your colleague is very young. I would think the training level and experience are certainly not as good as yours, right?" Yunan Xiao tentatively asked.
"That's for sure!" Baogang Liu certainly wouldn't say the opposite, but he also felt he could not say so too definitely. After all, as the saying goes, "There is no ever-victorious soldier and no inflexible water." As long as it is a sports competition, there would always be uncertainty.
Baogang Liu changed the topic and said, "As a matter of fact, this Dai Li is not my colleague, as he is not a member of the national team. He has been temporarily transferred to the national team from the Hanbei Provincial team. He is also a good student of Coach Xue Li, and he is proficient in short-distance running training."
"He's not a marathon coach," Yunan Xiao said casually.
"But he is the youngest championship coach on the national team. In the Asian Games held a few days ago, the national team relied on Dai Li to get the gold medal in the relay race." Baogang Liu told Yunan Xiao all the details of the Asian Games relay race.
Yunan Xiao looked at Dai Li from far away and seemed interested in him. She said, "This Coach Li is a sprinting coach. In marathon training, he shouldn't be as good, right?"
"That's for sure!" Liu Bao said. He then added, "He probably is not."
Yunan Xiao noticed that Baogang Liu's was not so confident in his words anymore. She never would have thought this senior coach from the national team would show this lack of self-confidence before Dai Li. Yunan Xiao involuntarily looked at the distant Dai Li again.
Baogang Liu also realized that he had used the wrong words, and that it was wrong to not be confident in front of his sponsor. Baogang Liu then immediately said, "Director Xiao, please don't worry; I believe in the strength of our participants. And in the team competition, only the first five athletes' scores are counted to calculate the results. I can form a strategy to disturb their pace by arranging two or three of our contestants to run with them! As long as they are out of sync, we will win!"
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