Chinese Yichi Zhang studied for two years at the faculty of sports Lille 2. Solicited to accompany the delegation of his country during this weekend, he did not hesitate before committing. A handyman role that he takes very seriously. On Friday, her workday lasted 14 hours.
6am: The streets of Lille are still covered with snow and the thermometer always leans in the negative. Yichi Zhang begins his day. After only three hours of sleep, he is responsible for taking the Chinese athletes to the Hauts-de-France league. First test of the day: to lead them safely despite the snow and ice.
8h30: The first snowshoes are given. Yichi Zhang is already in the forefront to encourage his compatriots. Not only a driver, he also gave himself the mission of motivating the troops: “I told them that we should not stress,” he says in simple French. Last year the Chinese finished last. I explained to them that they could only do better, he laughs. I know a little about tennis, I played before arriving in France. I think this team can win one or two places over last year. However, it is the Russian team, second last year, who stands against the Chinese for this first round.
10am: The first meeting is dispatched. Jiexue Zang wins 6-1 / 6-2. The day starts well for the Chinese team … and so for Yichi Zhang: “It’s a pleasure to be here. Helping China is an honor. “But precisely, what came these players in France? “The important thing for them is, of course, to gain experience. But they are especially there to show a good image of China abroad. “Words that corroborate word for word to those used by the coach on Thursday evening at the presentation. Soft power when you hold us …
11:30: The Chinese demonstration continues. Meiqi Wu is walking 6 / 2-6 / 2. A victory that instills doubt in Russian heads. Yichi then tries to explain the genesis of Chinese sports performances. A country that is generally successful in sport: “I think foreigners think mostly about them, about their future when they play. We also play for the honor of our nation, the honor of our university. It’s cultural. ”
12h: Deserved lunch break for the Chinese volunteer. On the sports menu of the day, pastas, rice and salmon. Not necessarily to the taste of Chinese players: “They did not like it too much. It’s totally different from us. The rice is long here, not round. It’s not salty enough and you do not cook enough fish. But hey I liked, I got used to a year! French cuisine is the most famous in the world, I love it! ”
1.30 pm: As the third game of the day is already well advanced, Yichi Zhang falls into the arms of Morpheus. A small sum of 40 minutes, largely repairing. Yet he is still only at the beginning of his weekend. “It’s going to be hard on Monday,” he laughs when he returns. A timely awakening. Just in time for the end of the third match. The first tight between the two teams. Yichi Zhang gives voice to help Jiaxi Liu.
The Chinese finally wins 4 / 6-6 / 1-6 / 4. The formation is only one victory of the feat. Yichi is confident: “It’s good, we can not lose anymore. ”
He continues the translations for the various media present on this Master’U BNP Paribas. It smells good for his team.
17h: End of the meeting, China wins 4/0. Yichi Zhang exults, “It’s great for us! It was a nice day “. But his is far from over. There are still three doubles without issues between the two teams. Games won by his compatriots. For the honor.
7 pm: “I’m waiting for them to shower. Then I will drive them to the hotel and my day will be over! “… Waiting for tomorrow’s with the semifinal against Great Britain. For a new surprise from his team?