Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fitness Test Completed!

For the first 4 days here in China, the weather has been moderate – some light rain showers, but mostly overcast. Well, the weather changed just in time for the fitness test. On the morning of Wednesday, 5 Sept, hot and humid was the order of the day. The assistant referees were divided into the first two groups and ran the fitness test first. The referees were in the third group and started at 11am. When we arrived at the track and began our warm-up, it was very hot and humid. Fortunately, there was a slight breeze. However, as hoped, the years and months of hard work paid off. We are elated to say that we passed with flying colors. The only change to our regular training was the water consumption before, during and after the test. Of course, on our very last step, a cooling down pour of rain closed the test.

So the first big hurdle at the women’s world has been conquered; with the 6x40 meters covered in the required time and the 20x 150m run followed by 50m recovery well within time.

After the fitness test, we returned to the hotel for a well deserved lunch and some enjoyed Chinese massages. Did we mention that we have 3-4 full time masseuses at our disposal throughout the day?

After lunch, we had our first chance to get out and see a glimpse of Shanghai. Our hotel is on the western side of Shanghai and we traveled by bus to the eastern side for a shopping spree. Shopping is always a favorite among the referees and is a great way to unwind. Of course unless you have shopped in China before, it is hard to prepare for the experience. We had several local volunteers assisting; getting a “good” deal is truly an art form in China. Many of the referees spent quite a bit of money, but we held off, buying only “necessities”.

Thursday brought more sunshine and fortunately a light training session. After some light jogging and stretching, we spent some time practicing our soccer (football) skills. Yes, we are sure that would have been entertaining for many of you.

We have our official referee dinner tonight. We will don our FIFA formal uniforms and enjoy a very nice meal at the FIFA headquarter hotel.

For those who are interested, below are views looking out of our hotel rooms – as you can see, we are several stories up (in this view nearly 40). In fact, every time we ride the elevator up and down, if we do not make some stops in between, our ears pop!