Preparations of women´s basketball, fencing, and table tennis teams 07-29-2004 16:52

As there are only 40 days to go before the Athens Olympics, Chinese athletes are gearing up and making use of every minute to get ready for the Games. China won a record 28 golds during the last Games in Sydney, and the country is hoping to break that record this August. New, we will take a look at some teams鈥 preparations are heating up.

Basketball: Women's Basketball team back in practice

The Chinese Women's Basketball team have finished their series of friendlies in Australia and are at work again in a new round of training for the coming Games.

Although appearing to have lost weight from their six-week long trip to Australia, the Chinese women basketballers started their training sessions with little rest. Out of 5 friendly matches against Australia, despite being the world No. 3 team, China only won once. In one game, they lost more than 40 points.

Head coach Gong Luming admits that the poor performance of most team members resulted from the high frequency and intensity of the games, which physically and mentally exhausted his players. But he also says they have gained much experience which will be valuable in Athens.

Gong Luming said, "The matches are good for us by exposing both our strong and weak points. We are confident of fulfilling our goal in the Athens Olympics."

With only one and a half months to go before the Olympics, the team is focusing on their defense. They are scheduled to meet Australia, the Czech Republic and Serbia and Montenegro in a 4-nation tournament in south China in early July.

Fencing: Fencers eye breakthrough in Athens

Having made it through all 7 stages of the World Cup competition, the Chinese Women's Saber team finished in second place behind champions Germany and qualified for the Athens Olympics. China will first fight it out with Asian Game champions South Korea of Group One, who beat China with a 4-point advantage during the last Asian Games 2 years ago.

Wang Hengman, Coach of Chinese Women's Saber team, said, "In my opinion, our team is stronger than the South Koreans. But we have to make mental adjustments, for some of our players are still overshadowed by the loss to South Korea in the last Asian Games."

Should they defeat South Korea this time around, China will face Hungary in the next match, an opponent China has beaten in their last 4 encounters.

Table Tennis: Table tennis inner-squad scrimmage

The men's Table Tennis Olympic team launched a pre-Games inner-squad scrimmage to maximize their Olympic preparations.

Wang Liqin, China's No. 1 singles player, thrashed Chen Jian 3-1 and overwhelmed Wang Xi 3-0 win. Another Olympic team member Wang Hao, however, couldn't take the pressure of Jiang Tianyi's powerful serve and lost the match 3-2.

In other matches, two pairs of Olympic players tasted the flavor of defeat. Olympic champions Kong Linghui and Wang Hao lost their battles against two veterans 3-1. And Ma Lin and Chen Qi also lost in the competition.

Although the outcome was not as fans wished, it did give the players much needed insight as to where their weaknesses lie.


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