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The next day, word of the results of the half marathon quickly spread to the national team. Everyone knew that Baogang Liu had had an unexpected failure, and that he had been defeated by Dai Li in the marathon.
The coaches of the national team knew each other well. They surely knew about Baogang Liu's qualifications.
In terms of ability, Baogang Liu was definitely not weak on the national team, and might even be in the upper-middle level. Not only was he good at marathon training, but he was also good at long-distance running training.
If Baogang Liu was defeated by another marathon coach, or even by a long-distance running coach, it would not have surprised anyone. After all, even the best horses stumbled sometimes; it's normal for a high-level coach to lose a match once in a while.
But Baogang Liu had been defeated by Dai Li. This made many people wonder why Dai Li was a sprinting coach. Sprint and marathon were both popular sports, but the two had nothing in common with one another; in fact, it was even safe to say that they were vastly different.
Yet the winner was Dai Li.
The outsiders might have thought that Dai Li had won the game due to pure luck. As the saying went, even the poorest families might have dumplings for dinner during the spring festival.
But in the eyes of the national team coaches, although there may have been a slice of luck in Dai Li's victory, there was definitely not a lot of it; Dai Li's strength as a coach was much more crucial.
What's more, what Dai Li had won was the team competition. This required five participants' scores to be counted. It might have been luck to have an individual runner win, but for five participants on one team to win, it obviously required something more than purely being lucky. Therefore, everyone realized that Dai Li must know something about marathon training. Many people even believed that Dai Li had rich experience in leading a team in marathon, otherwise it would have been impossible for him to defeat Baogang Liu.
Dai Li knocked on the door, then walked into Li Xue's office.
Seeing that it was Dai Li, Li Xue said, "Dai Li, you good boy! You won that half marathon race yesterday and defeated Baogang Liu! Baogang Liu's ability is quite extraordinary among marathon coaches on our national team. I never would have thought you would defeat him!"
"That was pure luck!" Dai Li smiled.
"All right. You needn't be humble when with me. If you did not know something about marathon, you couldn't defeat Baogang Liu at all! Fortunately, you're my student, and the long-distance running team wouldn't sare touch you" Li Xue said, smiling.
"It was only a game. Are they going to beat me?" Dai Li asked with surprised.
"You misunderstood me. I am short-tempered, but I have never fought with anyone when I lost a match. Those guys on the long-distance running team are always dawdling when doing things; how dare they start a fight with anyone?" Li Xue then said, "Yet they dare to do headhunting! If you were someone else, the long-distance running team would have tried to recruit you to their team long ago! It's a good thing that you work for me. They dare not solicit you, even if they had twice the amount of courage."
Dai Li smiled and changed the topic. "Coach, what did you call me here for?"
"Go back to the dormitory and pack up your belongings. You should return to your provincial team now," Li Xue said with no hesitation.
"Coach, you just said you would have me under your wing. Now you're firing me? I just won a half marathon with only amateurs. Is it really necessary to fire me??" Dai Li said half-jokingly.
"It is not that I want to fire you; I reckon that your provincial team will soon want you back," Li Xue said. He put a copy of a document on the table. "Take a look at this first."
Dai Li picked up the document. He knew what it was as soon as he finished scanning the title.
"The schedule for the track and field qualification competition for the National Games was released! It begins next month. It's very soon," Dai Li said.
Li Xue nodded. "Great importance is placed on every session of the National Games by every provincial training team. As usual, the provincial training teams will recall all the excellent athletes and coaches in their province. Many athletes and coaches from the national team also usually return to their former unit to work for their province. This is an unwritten rule.
"You have been temporarily transferred to the national team, and there are not many excellent sprinting coaches in Hanbei Province. Although you are working for the national team, you are still an coach for your provincial team. I think they will soon get you back," Li Xue said.
Glancing at Dai Li, he continued, "I just received this document. The national team gets news sooner than the provincial team. I think the Hanbei provincial team will receive a similar document by this afternoon at the latest. I just wanted to let you know in advance so that you could pack up and book your ticket home."
"I see. Thank you, coach!" Dai Li said.
Li Xue then said, "The track and field team of Hanbei Province is good at middle-distance running and the shot put. Their performance in sprinting is only so-so. I am afraid it is unlikely they will earn a medal in the National Games. So I will not impose any goal on you. When you go back to the provincial team, just don't screw up and embarrass me."
Li Xue, as an official of the second highest rank in national team, usually lead the training and naturally knew the situation of each provincial team well. This meant that he knew what the track and field teams of each province were good at.
Dai Li had been with the national team for such a long time that he had gotten to know something about each of the provincial teams. He knew there was no top-level sprinter in his hometown, Hanbei Province; at least, there was no sprinter on the national team currently from his hometown.
Li Xue was right. At five o'clock that afternoon, Dai Li received a call from the head coach of the track and field team of Hanbei Province, Weidong Chu, who told him to go back as soon as possible to prepare for the National Games.
Dai Li first bought a ticket to his hometown Yu Zhou, where he stayed with his parents for a day. Then he went to the provincial capital, Qingcheng.
The Hanbei Province's track and field team was still unfamiliar to Dai Li, as he had not actually stayed there for more than a few days.
When he was still with the youth team, he had signed up for the talent training program of the national team. After that, he had stayed on the national team with Li Xue to learn, and had almost never come back to the Hanbei Province's track and field team.
Hanbei Province's track and field team had never asked Dai Li to come back. Dai Li was wanted by Li Xue, and Weidong Chu would not want to annoy Li Xue. He actually hoped that Dai Li could stay with the national team.
Weidong Chu knew that the provincial team was too small a temple to accommodate a big Buddha like Dai Li; it would only be a matter of time before he went to the national team anyway. In Weidong Chu's eyes, it would benefit him to have a friend on the national team. It would do Hanbei Province's track and field team nothing but good if Dai Li could be recruited by the national team.
Therefore, if it were not really a special occasion, Weidong Chu would not recall Dai Li. But the National Games were obviously a special occasion. Weidong Chu needed Dai Li to come back.
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