2018-04-17 10:00:00 CET

Where in the world is Chen Xue?

The Chinese has been absent from the courts since last year’s World Championships – but don’t worry, she’s just fine!

Chen Xue last competed internationally in the 2017 World Championships (Photocredit: FIVB)Chen Xue last competed internationally in the 2017 World Championships (Photocredit: FIVB)

If you are an attentive beach volleyball fan, you’ve probably asked yourself this question at some point over the last few months: where is Chen Xue? The Chinese Olympic medalist was last seen on the international scene in last year’s World Championships in Vienna, but after that her whereabouts were unknown for most of the people involved with the sport.

Well, that’s not the case anymore as reached out to the 2013 world champion and heard the news from her.

“I had surgery on my right shoulder in June 2015 and I rushed my return a little bit as I wanted to qualify to the Rio 2016 Olympics,” she told us. “I could play, but I’ve never been at full power after that, so I decided that after last year’s World Championships it would be a good moment for me to rehab my shoulder.”

The forced absence allowed Xue, a bronze medalist from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, to dedicate more time to her education. The 29-year-old player is about to get a major degree in Sports Training from the Nanjing University and is planning on finishing all her classes until this summer.

But she’s not completely away from beach volleyball and, as she admits, she’s been missing the World Tour competition.

“I just took this break so I can play better when I return,” Xue added. “But I don’t feel I’m away from the sport. I’m training and I’ve been in the snow volleyball exhibition match in the Winter Olympics. I miss the feeling of playing in the World Tour but I’ll be back soon.”

Xue is rehabbing her right shoulder, in which she had surgery in 2015 (Photocredit: FIVB)Xue is rehabbing her right shoulder, in which she had surgery in 2015 (Photocredit: FIVB)

Xue doesn’t have a timeline for return or an established partner to share the court with, but her goal is to be back in position to compete for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which would be the third edition of the Games she took part of.

In 2016, she tried to qualify to the Rio Games with Xinyia Xia, but the duo didn’t make it. The frustration she felt when the team was eliminated in the World Olympic qualification tournament just one month before the Games still resonates on her mind and is the fuel she needs to come back stronger.

“I need to be strong and competitive in September, when the Olympic qualification process starts, so I’m entirely focused on my rehab”, the Chinese commented. “Not qualifying to Rio was a big disappointment for me, so Tokyo 2020 is the main goal. When I return, I’ll talk to the coaches and we’ll figure out who my partner will be.”

Can’t wait to have you back, Xue!

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