Chinese team visits Briercrest

Katie Brickman
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Shanghai volleyball team in town as part of exchange program

Ju WanRong of Team Shanghai Sports Institute (SSI) spikes a ball over the head of Kaylee Dombroski of the Briercrest Clippers during an exhibition game at the Reimer Gym in Caronport on Monday evening. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

For the first time in their lives, 14 young Chinese athletes travelled outside their country and landed in Saskatchewan.

With a population of over 24,000,000 people in their city, the Shanghai Sports Institute (SSI)/ Team SSI travelled to the smallest western province as part of an exchange program.

On Monday evening, Team SSI visited Caronport and played an exhibition game against the women’s Briercrest Clippers volleyball team. Team SSI won in three sets, 25-18, 25-17 and 25-12.

“It was good and fun. Obviously, we were outmatched in the talent side of things, but we had a fun experience,” said Clippers coach Nolan Weinmaster. “Not every day do you get to play against an international team, especially one of this calibre. It was a really good cultural experience for us and a good learning opportunity.”

The reason why the Shanghai team is in town is part of an exchange with the Multicultural Volleyball Program (MVP China). The project is to expand a positive cultural sporting experience and relationship through volleyball.

Bill Fong and the Prospects Volleyball Camp organizers initiated the project.  A provincial team of girls under the age of 18 was put together to host the first junior club cultural and sport exchange with Canada and the People’s Republic of China.

The SSI Team has been in the province since the end of November and witnessed many new things, including snow for the first time and wide-open spaces. The experience has been a positive for the team so far and has enjoyed their time in Saskatchewan.

“The people here from Canada are very hospitable, very warm and take very good care of them,” said WuBei through a translator. “The audience here was very warm-hearted. We really enjoyed it.”

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