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Inspirational coach leads Israeli Team

08-10-2011 16:51 BJT

For the first time in 40 years, the Israeli Women's Volleyball team is taking part in the European Championships. The return of the Israeli women to the event, the culmination of years of hard work, and the realization of a life-long dream for the team's inspirational head coach.

Under the guidance of 74 year-old, hall of fame coach Arie Selinger, the Israeli's have been transformed into a team that can match up with Europe's best.

The "Selinger Project", as it's known, was thought up by the inspirational coach before he left Israel to lead the United States women's team and the Dutch men's team to Olympic silver medals.

Arie Selinger, Coach of Isaeli Women’s Volleyball Team said, "Because even then, back in 1969, I felt that things were not being done right. That there is much more potential here but that somehow we are missing it."

Under Selinger's strict training program, the team went from practicing three times a week to daily, sometimes twice a day...and the results of this increased focus on performance are beginning to show.

Israel defeated Belarus in last year's European League qualifying round to reach their first European Championships since 1971.

Arie Selinger said, "People don't realise the ability and incredible tolerance that kids have, and they think that we are strong and they are weak. It is the opposite - they are strong and we are weak."

Selinger earned his Ph.D in physical education at the University of Illinois. His expertise in physiology has taught him that the body is tough enough to sustain great stress and recover naturally afterward.

This however, something Selinger learned at a young age...as he is a Holocaust survivor.

Arie Selinger said, "I never thought during the Holocaust I'm going to get killed, I never thought I was going to die. I always thought that I will make it, something is going to happen to me, somehow I will make it.."

Selinger is known for revolutionary coaching methods, which has landed him in the United States hall of fame for helping change the face of volleyball in the country.

Even though other coaches at Selinger's age might be thinking of slowing down, there is a different thought for the Israeli coach.

Arie Selinger said, "Although the nurses and everybody were chasing me 'you cannot play soccer, you cannot play basketball, you have to take care of yourself' and I said 'no way' and I kept running."

Despite having already won two Olympic silver medals, leading Israel to London 2012 will be the greatest challenge of Selinger's career. But for the holocaust survivor who always saw the potential in Israeli volleyball, this will also be his greatest triumph.

Editor:Zou Xian |Source: CNTV.CN

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