CANBERRA, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) — “I will give our team full marks for our performance at the FIBA Women’s World Cup,” said China captain Yang Liwei in an interview with Xinhua after they finished second in the tournament.
At the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sydney, China played a total of eight matches, winning six of them. They entered the final of a major international competition for the first time in almost three decades, before losing to defending champions the United States in Saturday’s final to pocket silver medals for the second time in their history.
Yang said that everyone in the team had worked very hard. “The coaches, the players and the staff, all of us did our best,” she said. “So there is no regret. This trip of ours is perfect.”
Discussing their achievement, the 27-year-old was modest. “It is the result of efforts from several generations,” she said.
“All the efforts paid off, and we have done it.”
Yang noted that there had been ups and downs for Chinese women’s basketball. Between 1994 and 2022, their only other semifinal appearance at major tournaments was at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where they finished fourth.
“We had our low points, even the darkest moments,” she said. “But the spirit of China’s female basketball players, known as courage, unity and dedication, was inherited by each generation and supported us to this day.”
Standing at 1.76 meters, the guard started playing basketball at the age of five. “My career really started from an interest which later grew into a deep love.”
Yang rated her own performance at the World Cup as eight out of ten, adding that she still needs to improve, and so does the team.
“This result is encouraging to us all, so that we have our next goal. We will continue to work hard towards becoming world champions,” she said. “At the same time, however, it leaves us with valuable experience to prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics.”
According to Yang, the team have seen the gap between them and the powerhouses on the global stage.
“We could do better,” she said. “We must improve before the next event.”
Over her two-decade journey from hopeful schoolgirl to national team player, Yang has changed a lot, but her basketball dream lives on.
“If one day I can achieve (becoming world champion), I will have no regrets.”