FUZHOU Frank Ragnow Lions Jersey , China, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Comparing with a Chinese Youth Games medal, 17-year-old Zhang Yufei, a Rio Olympic medal hope for China after taking 200m butterfly bronze at the Kazan worlds, seemed worrying more about her height.
"I am over 1.75 meters now, and I don't want to be any taller," said Zhang on Wednesday, stretching her legs on the mat beside the swimming pool.
China has had advantages in the event since Liu Zige won the title at the 2008 Beijing Games. Jiao Liuyang also won an Olympic gold at the 2012 London Games. At the 2013 Barcelona worlds, when Jiao was not in form, Liu came out to win the title.
Jiao has left the pool due to illness since early 2015, while Liu was struggling for form and failed to qualify for the Kazan worlds.
Without the two diving queens, Zhang's bronze brought new hope for Chinese swimming.
Zhang trained under Jiao's coach Liu Haitao, who had also been a swimmer.
"It is less than a year since Zhang trained with me," said the coach. "She made big improvement during these days. She is in good age and has space to improve more."
Liu said he had noticed Zhang almost four years ago.
"When I first saw her, she was with team Jiangsu, and I thought she was good. But due to some communication problems, she came to my group till last year," said Liu.
Talking about the next butterfly queen, Liu said Zhang still has a long way to be in same league with Jiao or Liu.
"She need to better her technique, especially in the fly," Liu said. "The girl showed some potential in dealing with pressure at the Kazan worlds, and I think she has the basic qualities of a excellent athlete."
Zhang started swimming at an age of three. "My parents had been professional swimmers. When they had training, they just let me playing in the pool," said the girl.
Zhang enjoyed the Youth Games in Fuzhou. "I am quite relaxed," she said. "My aim here is to keep form. I didn't train well since the Kazan worlds."
Like a lot of young girls at her age, Zhang like watching TV series and doing cross stitch.
"Cross stitch is fun," she said. "It takes time but I like it."
The Chinese Youth Games, which is underway in South China's Fuzhou city, runs from Oct. 18 to 27.
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