Two in a billion – blazing the trail for beach volleyball in China

While volleyball is extremely popular in the Middle Empire, beach volleyball hasn’t found quite the same success. Over the past few years, however, the sport has seen incredible growth, and this is largely due to one increasingly well-known team: Xue Chen and Zhang Xi. These incredibly talented Chinese ladies complement each other perfectly, which may have something to do with the similarities in their lives. Both started out playing indoor volleyball but then discovered their true passion.

Zhang was already 1.73m tall at the age of 13, and thanks to her skills a sports school in Jiangsu Province selected her for its team. Xue played indoor volleyball from the age of 10 to 13, but after attending the Athletic Sports College of Fuzhou she became a member of the Chinese national beach volleyball team. She made her first appearance at the FIVB Swatch World Tour in 2005 and won the Women’s FIVB World Tour Top Rookie award a year later at 17 years old, succeeding the Brazilian Talita Antunes. So what are the greatest achievements of this team so far? In 2006 they won the gold medal at the Asian Games and bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Another gold medal followed at the FIVB World Tour Women’s Final in Åland, Finland in 2010, where they ended the record gold-medal winning-streak of Brazil’s Franca-Silva team.

If beach volleyball is becoming more and more popular in China today, these FIVB Heroes are proud to be responsible for it. Many challenges await in their future! So how will they do at the Olympics?