Beijing, May 25: Chi expects to send a team of some 400 athletes for this summer’s Rio Olympic Games, a top sports official said here on Wednesday.
Four years ago, 396 Chinese athletes went to London and finished second behind the United Sates in the medals table with 88 medals including 38 golds.
“Based on our forecast, Chi will be represented by about 400 athletes at the Rio Games, competing in some 220 events of 26 sports,” Liu Aijie, deputy director of the competitive sports department of the State General Administration of Sport, told a press briefing.
With roughly two months to go, Chi has yet to qualify for the handball and rugby competitions. According to Liu, the chances of qualification in those disciplines look “very slim”.
Liu was cautious about forecasting Chi’s medal prospects in Rio, but tipped the United States to top the table again.
“The order of world sports remains much the same, with the US still the No.1 powerhouse while Chi and Russia battling for the runners-up position,” said Liu.
Chi expects to rake in most of its golds from six sports where it usually domites - table tennis, badminton, diving, shooting, gymstics and weightlifting. These sports accounted for 36 of the 51 gold medals Chi won in Beijing 2008. In 2012, 27 out of 38 gold medals Chi won came in these sports.
But Liu said that in some of Chi’s traditiol gold mines, Chinese athletes are likely to face stiff challenge from Britain, Germany and Japan, as they have invested heavily in sports over the past several years.
“The Chinese athletes must get fully prepared,” he said.
Liu also reiterated Chi’s determition to ditch its gold obsession in the lead-up to the Rio Games.
“We have made great efforts into resolving the problems that come from putting the winning of gold above all else that distorts the spirit of sports. And we will endeavour to send a clean team to Rio,” he said. (IANS)