Chinese badminton, diver, and women´s handball team 08-03-2004 11:32

Some of the Chinese national teams, like badminton and diving, have never missed the Olympics since 1984. But others, such as handball, are new arrivals and are heading to the Games for the first time. Whether it's their first time or not, Chinese athletes are sparing no effort in getting prepared for what will be one of the biggest challenges of their lives. Now, we'll show you how different teams are counting down to this month's Games.

Chinese Women's Handball Team in training

The Chinese women's handball team is scheduled to meet physically stronger teams in Athens, including France, Denmark and Hungary.

For this reason, they have invited their male counterparts for practice matches in a move to get ready for taller and stronger opponents. So far, the women have won the first 2 encounters with their male rivals.

Coaches say a solely defensive strategy won't help the team win against attack-oriented rivals, so flexible tactics with quicker responses are being tried.

Chung Hung-Joon, coach of Chinese women's handball team, said, "We see from the matches with the men's team that we have made progress after training these days, but there are still some problems. We will train more intensively to solve them."

It is the first time that the Chinese women's team will compete at the Olympics. They qualified after becoming Asian champions in 2003.

Chinese badminton team create Athens atmosphere

The Chinese badminton team may have only just come back from the Malaysian Open, but they have been burying themselves in rounds of intensive pre-Olympic training in Yiyang, Hunan Province. How's this for dedication: they have even re-decorated the training ground to get a closer feel of the atmosphere of the stadium in Athens.

Zhou Mi, player in Chinese women's badminton team, said, "Our curtain-draped stadium now is more like the Olympic venue, which is helpful to us."

The coach, Li Yongbo said, "Nowadays, a vital victory could just come down to a one-point difference. Our mock training has to be as real as possible, so that we feel better prepared."

With the Athens Olympics drawing closer, the team is now focusing on pin-point training and concentrating on how best to play particular teams. There are also concerns about sudden injuries or illnesses that may affect the players.

The final list of the Olympic squad was announced on July the 14th. World top seeds Lin Dan, Chen Hong, Gong Ruina and Zhou Mi are on the list, but former world champion Xia Xuanze was not.

Chinese divers get ready for Olympics

Members of the Chinese diving team are up to their necks at their 6-week-long closed-door training camp in Jinan, Shangdong Province. Many of them look exhausted after rounds of international competition as well as demanding training sessions.

Zhou Jihong, coach of Chinese national diving team, said, "Our athletes are a little tired because they have been in a lot of competitions. Despite their fatigue, their physical situation is good thanks to the care of the team's doctors."

The diving team has adopted many advanced training methods. Among them is the computer-aided feedback system that helps divers see their previous movements and map out training in a more scientific way. The team hopes to get at least 4 golds in Athens.

News on who will represent China at the Games was disclosed at a news conference on July the 15th. The squad includes Tian Liang, gold medalist of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, as well as several Olympic newcomers.

Source:The official website of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Editor:Wang Ping

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