China is sending a young weightlifting squad
Updated: 2012-07-17 16:49
By Sun Xiaochen (chinadaily.com.cn)
Former Olympic champion weightlifter Long Qingquan has full faith in the young contingent China is sending to the London Olympics, despite its lack of experience.
China lifted eight of the 15 gold medals on offer at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, will have only one defending champion, Lu Yong - in the men's 85kg category, at the Games.
The lack of experienced lifters, including Long, women's 69kg winner Liu Chunhong and five other gold medalists from four years ago, has lowered the country's expectations of repeating its Beijing heroics.
However, Long remains upbeat about the team's potential in London.
"I think everyone drafted into the team has prepared well and deserve their Olympic spots," Long told China Daily at the launch of the first Chinese Olympic Committee stamp on Tuesday.
"The men's side will face tougher challenges from their opponents and the women will try hard to secure the first gold. Anyway, I think they will do well again."
Long, the Beijing 56kg titlist, lost to teammate Wu Jingbiao at the national trials in April and missed out on a ticket to London.
Still, Long is confident Wu can continue his legacy in the category.
"He has competed with me at a lot of international events and the titles always belonged to one of us. I think he will win."
China announced its 396-strong Olympic lineup to London last week. The absence of Tian Yuan, reigning female world champion, drew questions about the transparency of the weightlifting team's selection process.
Tian's omission was the biggest surprise as the Hubei native was at last year's Worlds, where she set a world record of 207kg in the 48kg event.
Ma Wenguang, the director of the governing body, explained a waist injury attributed to Tian being replaced by veteran Wang Mingjuan.
However, Tian denied she was omitted due to any injury or doping issues, stressing, "I am in good shape and haven't failed in any doping test".
Long was shocked by Tian's non-selection, but didn't believe the selection process was 'fixed', as some media reported.
"She has proven her ability at some major events like the Worlds and Asian Championships in 48kg. If she went, I would have full confidence in her (to claim the gold medal)."
"As for the selection process, it is usually made after comprehensive evaluations. Results at the recent events are one thing, but I think the governing body has to take into account previous performances and consistency."