altMarch 24 - China has taken the surprise decision to replace Chen Zhonghe (pictured) as its women's volleyball coach for the London 2012 Olympics after the team won only a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics.


Chen, who had guided China to the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, will be replaced by Cai Bin.


That victory ended a run of nearly two decades without a major global title for the Chinese.


Chen, now 52, had taken over in 2001 and claimed that his failure to deliver a gold medal at last year's Olympics was not behind the decision.


He said: "I do not feel sorry for what I have achieved in my coaching career.


"I'm not depressed about the decision.


"It's normal for a younger coach to take over because the team need that kind of fresh energy and ambition."


Cai, 42, had previously been in charge of China's successful women's youth team.


He said: "Rather than feeling happy or surprised, I feel a great sense of responsibility and I see this as a challenge.


"Our youth team has already achieved much glory and it's my job to make sure we keep this tradition going in the senior team with win after win."