December 4, 2008

Cheng Fei: "If the Team Needs Me, I'll Go On and Give It 100 Percent."

It seems the Chinese media are a little obsessed with Cheng Fei's future in the sport at the moment. You can't go to Sina without coming across someone's views on the subject: a coach's, a journalist's, what have you. What's different about today's Sina article is that it's Cheng herself doing the talking. Yep, it's an actual Cheng Fei interview, and if it has a message, it's that Cheng is a great team player. Well, we all knew that, didn't we?

Cheng Fei at the press conference where the questions below were asked (photo: Xinhua)

Reporter: Cheng Fei, can we talk about the next stage of your career?

Cheng Fei: Thanks to all the reports, everybody should know by now what my competitive situation is like. The most important thing for me right now is to improve my training level. Obviously I'm not nearly in the shape that I was at the Olympics, but if I work very hard to get it back, I hope I'll attain the standard needed to win the World Cup Finals.

Reporter: What concrete objectives do you have for these World Cup Finals? Not too long ago you won three gold medals at the Stuttgart World Cup competition.   

Cheng Fei: You may all have these high anticipations, but I myself haven't defined any exact goals. As long as I compete well in each final, I'll be quite happy.   

Cheng Fei and coach Lu Shanzhen in Beijing (photo: Julie Jacobson/AP Photo)

Reporter: Cheng Fei, everybody seems to want to know whether you'll be able to go to the 2012 London Olympics. Do you yourself have enough faith and confidence to go on [until then]?   

Cheng Fei: I can't say for sure how long I'll go on training, but while I remain in training, I'll give it my all. It's like our coach said. If the team needs me, I'll go on and give it 100 percent. However, the team is getting a lot of new members at the moment. If those new girls have a lot of potential and train very hard, and if a few years from now I'm not in the greatest of shapes anymore, I believe I'll have to make a rational decision.   

Reporter: If it's really like that, won't it be a bit of a waste to go on training for [just] a few more years?   

Cheng Fei: I don't think so, because there will be many competitions before 2012. My main goal now is to help more new girls get better and to create a good competitive atmosphere together. My main goal is still to help the women's team get better and to obtain even better results.   

Reporter: After the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Liu Xuan also retired for a while and did some coaching for some time. When she finally returned to the team and had to work out like a regular team member again, she felt like a completely different human being. Have you ever considered doing a little coaching yourself?

Cheng Fei: I haven't really considered it. Being a coach is a tough job. If you want to become an outstanding coach, it's like this. You must study hard and expend a lot of time and energy, and you must gain a lot of experience. If I make up my mind to become a coach, I shouldn't want to be a coach and go on training at the same time. Right now I hope that training will be just that, training, and that being a member of the team still means being a member of the team.   

(photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Reporter: Will your routines in Madrid be as difficult as the ones you did at the Olympics?   

Cheng Fei: Difficultywise, I won't be at my Olympic level. Also, there are other things you have to factor in before deciding on a particular start value: the feeling you have right before the competition, the site, that sort of thing.

We guess that means we won't be seeing any Amanars or Cheng Fei vaults in Madrid, but then again we weren't expecting to at this time of the year. Just hit the DTY, Cheng Fei jie!

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