Zhang Xiaona, a 24-year-old orienteering coach from Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, has cultivated 25 champions in various competitions in the sport since she started working for her current school in 2016. [zjnews.zjol.com.cn]
A 24-year-old orienteering coach from Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province has cultivated 25 champions in various competitions in the sport since she started working for her current school in 2016.
Zhang Xiaona helps players find out the quickest routes by accurately identifying points on a map and calculating distances.
"Orienteering aims to test participants' intelligence and physical strength. It requires good endurance, strong logical thinking ability and a calm mentality in the face of difficulties," Zhang said.
Zhang has been a fan of the ideas behind orienteering since her college days and became a directional sports coach after her graduation.
"In my view, whether or not a student has learnt orienteering before is not the most important thing. I pay more attention to each child's endurance and patience," she said.
She tests students' visual perception, physical strength and endurance through an 800m course and checks their patience by observing students' attitude towards her class, especially the teacher's words.
"All students are initially like a blank sheet of paper, but I believe that they would become excellent after hard work," Zhang said.
It is hard to be an orienteering coach, especially in summer vacations, she explains. In addition to strength training, Zhang has also led her team to participate in competitions both at home and abroad.
On an orienteering event, the 2018 National Youth Orientation Championships held in southwest China's Guizhou Province, eight of her students scored good results with a gold medal, a silver and three bronzes.
Three days prior to the trip to Guizhou, Zhang and her team returned from a Czech championship in Europe. In that competition with young athletes from around the world, the children performed well, winning a gold, a silver and a fifth rank.
Moreover, she has worked up to 20 hours a day this summer. She had to write summary and revise homework after a whole day’s work. And it often happened that she could not go to bed until after 2am in the morning.
In addition, she had to wake up early to get breakfast for the children so as to allow them to get more sleep and have enough rest.
As the temperature was low in the mountains, Zhang had a cold and a fever during the competition in the Czech Republic. She could not even speak for a few days.
Although she has only been in the job for two years, seven of her students have been admitted by key high schools as special students with orienteering specialties.
"It is true that most students entered the team with an aim to get into senior high schools easier, whilst more children choose to stay behind out of sincere love for the sport after training," she said.
"Because it is hard to find a balance between learning at school and orienteering training, achieving good results is rather difficult," Zhang added.
(Source: zjnews.zjol.com.cn/ Translated and edited by Women of China)
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