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Xue Chen, Xia Xinyi bounce back ahead of 2024 Summer Olympics

Sports Scene


Xue Chen and Xia Xinyi will be China's only pair competing in beach volleyball at the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

The two won the Saquarema Challenge in Saquarema, Brazil, on March 31, just three weeks after making an early exit at the Doha Elite 16 in Doha, Qatar.

The frustration from that setback continued to haunt them until they returned to the court in Brazil.

"We had some ups and downs at the beginning of this year," Xia told the China Media Group (CMG). "We failed to advance from the group stage at the first Elite competition. We were very upset at that time."

"We were just wondering why European players were in such a great form?" Xue said. "Unlike them, we were still trying to build our form, so the loss made us feel that something wasn't right."

The victory in Saquarema was a great confidence booster for Xue and Xia, and it stemmed from their efforts at studying and improving every detail of their performance in the two weeks following their disappointment in Doha.

"Our lesson from the loss in Doha was that we were not under enough pressure to win," Xue told CMG. "We went back to Rio after Doha and had one to two weeks to train. So we forced ourselves to go for the best with every play. We kept telling ourselves to do this like real matches. Then we won the title in Saquarema."

Both Xue and Xia showed promising talent as youngsters. Xue paired with Zhang Xi to win the FIVB World Tour stop in east China's Shanghai Municipality in May 2006. Xue, 17 at the time, became the youngest player to do so in the tournament's history. Seven years later, Xia broke Xue's record at the age of 16, as the two teamed up to win the title in Phuket, Thailand.

Xue and Xia failed top qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. After changing partners later, both participated in the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, but their teams failed to reach the quarterfinals.

Now Xue and Xia joined have joined forces again, aiming to make a difference at the Paris Olympics.

"It's our goal to stand on the podium in Paris," Xue told CMG. "But I don't want to rush it."

"We want to play every match well, and do it better and better every day," Xia concluded.

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