Love is good thing for shuttlers, coach

Updated: 2012-07-17 14:58


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Love is likely to continue to sprout in the Chinese national badminton team - and head coach Li Yongbo said that is a good thing.

"I am actually not opposed to relationships between teammates. It's a good thing, to some extent, because lovebirds can cheer for each other. It's the players' form that matters after all. The pairs won't harm the society and might improve their skills, so why interfere?" said Li during a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency.

Li's own story perhaps made him believe sometimes a sweetheart's words are more useful in morale lifting than a coach's pep talk.

"We were very young when we fell in love, my wife and I. What we talked about most of the time is I'll get the badminton championship and you the rhythmic gymnastics' one. These words can spur you," Li said.

Li met his wife, Xie Ying, then a rhythmic gymnast, at a training venue in 1983.

The badminton team, under the outspoken Li's reins, is one of the few national teams to have shown a human side.

Several pairs of shuttlers have tied the knot in recent years. Lin Dan, who will defend his gold medal in London, and his wife, former world No 1 Xie Xingfang, are the best known of the sport's couples.