Daily Wrap

Posted on: Tuesday, 12 July 2016 at 11:02:18 AM

12th July 2016 - Day 5 

After the first day of competition and understanding the way that elite Chinese athletes both train and perform; day 5 saw perseverance, determination and excitement - to get back out on the court or on the track and keep pushing and learning. The challenge with chopsticks continued at breakfast, although it has become apparent that the kids are getting the hang of it and also being adventurous with their food - trying more traditional Chinese foods!


Athletics WA’s junior athletes returned to the No.2 Sports School of Shanghai on Day Five to continue their training ahead of their first competition with an early start of 7.30am on the bus. Our driver took a wrong turn and had to pull a massive U turn in the middle of peak hour traffic COMPLETELY cutting off the flow of traffic, the experience was alarming to say the least! But the bus got back on track and all the athletes made it safely to the No.2 Sports School of Shanghai!

With most of the athletes set to compete at their first international competition, many of them looked forward to a light training session. However, true to the Chinese way a few were put through their paces with an emphasis on plyometrics and strength training. The sprinters were lucky enough to use No.2 Sports School of Shanghai recovery pools and were eager to cool down after training in 30-degree weather with 85% humidity.

The athletes had a short break between the two training sessions, which gave them an excellent opportunity to pull out a deck of cards and interact with each other without social media- it’s amazing what happens when people actually talk to each other not just message each other! As was communicated at the briefing, interaction is core principle of Friendship Games. After the break many athletes were opting for a light run and stretching session in the afternoon. Imogen Taylor was pushed through a tough afternoon throws session, while jumper Caitlin Blackman discovered how gruelling a Chinese strength and conditioning session can be.

The focus now turns to the athletes first competition set to begin at 2:30pm on Wednesday at the No.2 Sports School of Shanghai.

Girls Basketball:

Binar Girls had a light training session at 9am just focusing on some key elements of yesterday’s game that needed to be fixed ahead of today’s game as well as running some plays and just getting some shots up and a small scrimmage to get the blood flowing.

After showers and getting changed for the game there was a quick lunch at 12 and then onto the buses by 12.30. When we arrived back at the Shanghai Training Institute, it was decided that the girls would start play 30 minutes earlier which would allow the boys to watch the first quarter!  

The boys were treated to some "deadly" moves by the Binar girls in warm ups while getting ready for the contest.

Todays team had 2 members of yesterdays team, notably the 6 foot 6 inch centre and one of the guards.  The other members of the Sharks womens team were competent and very skilled.  The girls game started off strong, keeping the scoreboard very close and only slightly trailing behind at the end of the half. It was a fast paced game and we saw some incredible defensive work by the girls, using their strength to jump up for the boards and take some serious blocks on the Chinese athletes who were no less than 6"6.  The girls worked hard on offence - driving hard and smoothing out the play with the use of screens and some nice pick and rolls to get the points on the board. Unfortunately in the 4th quarter, it slipped away from us but we finished on a much better note than the day before and had doubled our score from the previous day.

Some of the key learnings from these first 2 games have been the discipline needed with effective passing and getting an offensive rhythm an moving the ball around.  All the girls have responded well to Coach Kristy Indich style and have enjoyed playing the games under her encouraging and positive style.

Boys Basketball:

Game 2 Report 
Written by Andrew Vlahov
After a sensational effort in Game 1, everyone was keen to continue on the good work and form of the team.  Our second game was against another division of the Shanghai Sharks junior program (younger age group – 18-20 yo).  Unfortunately, we had some key players out with illness / injury and we were 2 men down to start this game.  Never-the-less, the boys took that news in their stride and prepared for another tough game.
There was no sign of nerves in this game and the boys looked relaxed as they worked the ball around.  It wasn’t long before one our mercurial guards found himself open and drained a long 3 to get the proceedings underway. 
This team had definitely watched yesterday’s game and had scouted the boys putting some aggressive double teams together as well as being very disciplined against the dynamic Binar zone defense.  You could tell that this Shanghai group were much better drilled than the first team and made it tough for our boys inside given their significant height advantage.  Whereas yesterday, Shanghai and Binar got into a fantastic shootout at the OK Corral, this team continued to hammer the ball inside and force our smaller players into tough situations.
Shanghai built a solid 17-point lead at half time and some additional strategy was required!  Coach Adam Desmond marshalled the troops and the boys put on a significant scoring run to narrow the margin to just 5 points.  When you go on these kind of runs, it does take its toll on energy levels and the boys gave it a red hot crack but could not sustain it in the end.  Shanghai continued to play very physical and without 2 of our biggest players, the battle was valiant but the war was lost due to superior height and firepower inside. 
One of the highlights of the trip did happen in this game and it was a cracker.  Young Malachi Desmond has been hanging around with the boys and even has been allowed to warm up and participate in trainings to date.  Prior to the game he found a compatriot in the youngest Shanghai training player (12 years old) and got a one-on-one game going.  This Chinese boy had some serious handles (as does Malachi), which means he can dribble the ball with great skill and control.  The two of them had a good contest and then settled into their respective roles, Malachi as the waterboy / helper for the Binar boys and the Chinese boy was in charge of the manual scoreboard (like the old ones in cricket, each score is changed by hand).  Anyway….with 2 mins left on the clock and game out of reach for Binar, Malachi got subbed in.  By now, the Binar girls had finished their game and had come over to watch the last quarter, so “Mally” got a huge cheer when he hit the court.  However, what was also amazing to watch was the facial expressions of the Chinese boy when he saw Malachi checking into the game.  His eyes went wide as saucers as he looked over to the Chinese coach – you didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to read his face!!  “Ohh, come on coach, that Aussie kid is getting a run, what about me??” was my direct interpretation.  With the slightest of nods, the coach gave the OK and it was like that boy hit the ejector seat!  He sprang off the seat and checked himself into the game from the other side of the floor and it was on like Donkey Kong. 
The true spirit of the Friendship Games came out when the real warriors stepped outside and let these two young guns go at it on court.  1 on 1 from the top with some silky moves and each of them got to take a shot at either end of the floor.  The game finished up and the result having been decided long ago, both sets of players congratulated each other on a good contest with the respect shown to each other.  That was the great win.
Final Score:  Shanghai Sharks 85 - Binar Basketball 61 

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