We're not in Beijing anymore

Updated: 2012-07-11 07:59

(China Daily)

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We're not in Beijing anymore

China announced its delegation on Tuesday - it's good, but China Daily tells you why not to expect a repeat of 2008.

Despite an expected decline from Beijing 2008, China remains a legitimate favorite to finish high on the medal table again at the London Olympics. After topping the last Games with a massive haul of 51 gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze medals, China has a large target on its back in London and is highly unlikely to repeat that feat on foreign soil and waters. Still, the Asian powerhouse has vowed to finish in the top three after expanding its prowess beyond its traditional strengths like table tennis, badminton and diving. World-class performances from hurdler Liu Xiang, who recently tied the world record (in a tailwind), and long-distance swimmer Sun Yang have shown China's ability to win medals in more mainstream events.

A group of tennis players, led by the nation's first Grand Slam winner, Li Na, is set to challenge for medals in the singles and doubles events at the All-England Club.

Meanwhile, some of the events in which the country isn't quite as dominant, such as fencing, judo and taekwondo, could provide surprise successes as long as the athletes perform up to their capabilities.

In a best-case scenario, China could finish the Games with at least 35 gold medals and finish close to the United States.

Senior Chinese sports officials are confident the country will do well in London, but admit it will be hard to crack the 40-gold barrier.

We're not in Beijing anymore

"In the gold-medal rankings, China will for sure end in the top two," said Wei Jizhong, former secretary-general of the Chinese Olympic Committee. "Compared with our main rival, the United States, we will face less competition in our strongest events."

Jiang Xiaoyu, former vice-president of the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, said any country that bagged more than 40 titles would top the table.

"If a country wins more than 40 golds, it must be No 1," he said. "But it will be hard for China to do that. Finishing in the top three should be the goal ... the higher the better."

Former deputy sports minister Cui Dalin said, "China has considerable strength in many fields, but it will face strong challenges without its host status. It's not an easy job."

Although Liu and Sun are expected steal the spotlight in high-profile events at the Games, China's success will boil down to its traditional medal-rich sports - table tennis, badminton, diving, shooting and gymnastics, as well as weightlifting.

The six sports provided 36 of China's 51 gold medals in Beijing and have produced 123 of its 163 titles since the country's Olympic debut in 1984.

Boasting almost every international title over the past two years, the Chinese table tennis, badminton and diving teams are poised to sweep and lead the nation's gold hunt again.

China Daily

(China Daily 07/11/2012 page22)