Welcome to a new series of posts from Full Twist. Grabbing a quick 10 minutes with figures from the gymnastics world discussing our favourite sport.
Last week we spoke with Ye Zhennan, Head of the Chinese Artistic Gymnastics Olympic Squad at their pre- Olympic training camp in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. What a good way to kick off a series, at a pre – Olympic Training Camp!
FT: What drew the Chinese Olympic delegation to train in Northern Ireland at Salto National Gymnastics Centre?
YZ: You know that we have a Chinese Coach here, Mr Sun. He made contact with us and told us that there are a lot of great facilities here, so he introduced us and the gym to the Chinese team. We came and checked it and we saw that here was the best place for the team to prepare for the Olympic Games. It is an excellent place. They did a lot here for my team – they changed some of the facilities, the equipment and the government of the city ( FT – the council) and alot of the people they helped the Chinese team. They have a lot of energy and a lot of fun.
FT: When do the teams leave for London to the Olympic Village?
The Men will leave on the 20th and the Women will leave on the 23rd.
FT: How is Chen Yibings knee? He injured it last Saturday whilst training?
He is ok. 3 days ago He has a small problem, not a very serious problem and now he is getting better.
FT: And do you expect him to compete?
He is ok, you can see in his training that he is ok, he can perform good and is training well and can do everything.
FT: Have you seen much of the Romanian Women’s Gymnastics Team? Do you see them as a threat?
I think that the Romanian Women’s Team are very strong, for a while they were not so much but they are getting better.
FT: Who do you think would be your biggest competition in the Men’s side?
I think Japan and United States, they are two very strong teams. Great Britain are ok, some of their gymnasts are very good, I know of them. Beth Tweddle on the bars is very good. I hope that the British have a good result.
FT: Overall, how has training been going?
Training has been going well, if we want to get a good result in competition, they must have very hard training. They train different times each day, the different days are different hours. Sometimes they have to train the whole day – morning and afternoon, maybe 2 -3 hours and sometimes maybe half days, just three hours.
I would like to thank everyone here, from my team, the people here have made them very happy and they feel very comfortable. They feel very much like at home, comfortable.
Thanks to Ye Zhennan for his time and also the great effort he made to speak English without a translator.