China's giantess crosses fingers for basketball team before Games

2008-07-26 02:42:39 GMT       2008-07-26 10:42:39 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

ZHENGZHOU, China, July 26 (Xinhua) -- China's once all-star female basketball center Zheng Haixia said on Saturday that she wished the country's women basketball team good luck in the upcoming Olympic Games.

"I hope they can get a medal at the Games," said the 6 feet and8 inches tall giantess, after finishing the relay as a torchbearer in Kaifeng City in central China's Henan Province.

Zheng Haixia, one of the best female basketball players in China and the ever tallest female torchbearer, had spearheaded the Chinese national team to several championships.

She is now a senior coordination official with the formidable People's Liberation Army Bayi Basketball Team. Four members of the national team are Bayi players.

"Although I can no longer play on the court, I feel I am still with them," she said, with the torch seemingly small against her tremendous size.

"I like to wear high-heel shoes off the court despite my height," Zheng said.

"Onel looks graceful and stands upright in those shoes," she added.

Born in the city of Shangqiu in Henan in 1967, Zheng started to practice basketball at the age of 12. In 1992, she inspired her teammates to win the silver in the Barcelona Olympics.

She was the first Chinese player to ever play for a club in the basketball giant United States, before Wang Zhizhi and Yao Ming.

In 1997, during the inaugural WNBA season, Zheng led the league in field goal with 61.8 percent with the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA.

At the end of 1998, she returned to China and became a coach.

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