Chinese paddlers ready for Beijing Olympics

July 29th, 2008 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Wuxi (China), July 29 (Xinhua) The star-studded Chinese table tennis team is well-prepared to face any challenge from rivals at the Beijing Olympics. After a two-day warm-up between Olympic qualifiers and their teammates, Liu Fengyan, director of the Chinese Table Tennis and Badminton Administrative Centre, said that all the Olympians have got used to the new rules.

The table tennis men’s and women’s doubles are replaced by men’s and women’s team events at the Beijing Olympics, to be held Aug 8-24.

Liu revealed that a special team, including 1988 Olympic gold medallist Chen Jing, is monitoring the psychological condition of the men’s squad.

Apart from testing the strength of the Olympic squad, the warm-up matches also encourage young players to challenge the veterans, Liu said. “The players who outlast the Olympians will get the tickets for the table tennis worlds next year.”

“Paddlers from other countries and regions, whose abilities cannot be neglected, will fight hammer and tongs to mount a gutsy challenge against China at the Olympics,” Liu said.

Liu played down Chinese people’s expectation of a medal sweep, but said the players themselves should have objectives in mind.

Six table tennis players and two substitutes dominating the world rankings will play for China in the Beijing Games.

Spearheading the men’s team is world No. 1 Wang Hao, followed by four-time World Cup winner Ma Lin and three-time world champion Wang Liqin.

Zhang Yining, who was crowned in both singles and doubles in Athens will lead the women’s team which also includes grand slam winner Wang Nan and new world champion Guo Yue.

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