China selects Sao Paulo as Rio 2016 training base

Updated: 2016-01-14 10:07


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RIO DE JANEIRO - China has chosen Sao Paulo's prestigious Esporte Clube Pinheiros as its training base ahead of this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The country's athletes will use the club in Brazil's most populous city to train and aclimatize ahead of the August 5-21 Games.

Located in the exclusive neighborhood of Jardim Europa, Esporte Club Pinheiros covers an area of 170,000 square meters, equivalent to about 10 football pitches.

The Chinese delegation is expected to total around 350 people, including athletes, coaches, officials and conditioning staff.

The announcement follows 18 months of negotiations between Chinese officials and the club's administrators.

Esporte Clube Pinheiros is expected to reveal more details about the agreement in the coming days.

To minimize disruption to its 38,000 members, the club will schedule times for which its facilities will be available exclusively to China's athletes.

"The facilities have already been rented and will be at the disposition of China between July 22 and August 15," the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper said on Wednesday.

It added that some Chinese athletes have already begun training at the complex.

The club already houses facilities for 15 sports: table tennis, artistic gymnastics, swimming, badminton, football, tennis, rugby, water polo, volleyball, fencing, boxing, athletics, synchronised swimming, modern pentathlon and taekwondo.

China has also reserved a hotel close to the venue, booking most of the rooms available.

Following their preparation in Sao Paulo, the delegation will travel 430 kilometers northeast to Rio de Janeiro, where they will stay in the Olympic Village during competition.

China had the fourth largest squad at the London 2012 Games with 396 athletes. Only Britain, the USA and Russia had more.

The Asian country had the second-highest number of podium finishes with 88, including 38 gold medals. The USA, which had 530 athletes, led the tally with 103 medals, 46 of which were golds.

China will not be the only team preparing for the Games outside of Rio.

Britain will use the Minas Tenis Clube in Belo Horizonte as their pre-Games base.