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Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 09:31 UK

China aiming for minimum 32 golds

China's golden rise
Graphic comparing US/China gold medal tallies
China sent its first Olympic athlete to the 1932 Games in Los Angeles
Dispute over Taiwan saw China withdraw from IOC in 1958
When it returned to Games in 1984, China won 15 gold medals
In Athens in 2004, China won its largest gold haul yet, 32

China's target for the Beijing Olympics is to surpass the 32 gold medals they won in Athens four years ago.

Spokesman for the Chinese sports ministry Zhang Haifeng said: "We do have a target, that is to rank among the top nations in the medals table.

"We managed that by winning 32 gold medals in Athens and we hope to do better in Beijing."

China will have its largest delegation for any Olympics at the Games with more than 600 athletes in their squad.

In Athens, China finished second in the medal table behind the United States, who claimed 36 goals.

But Zhang played down his country's chances of overtaking the Americans despite their home advantage and the heavy investment in training potential medals winners.

China have apparent weaknesses in swimming and athletics, in which 110m hurdler Liu Xiang is the only real title contender, and Zhang conceded it would be tough to beat the Athens tally.

606: DEBATE

"The charm of elite sport is its uncertainty," he added. "It is very difficult to realise this target because our rivals are so strong.

"But our athletes will follow the Olympic maxim of 'faster, higher, stronger' and will give their all to get as good a result as possible."

Vice sports minister Feng Jianzhong said he hoped the athletes would show "good moral standards" and added it was a matter of "the more, the better" in terms of how many medals they won.

"All our athletes and coaches in our sports community are well-prepared," he said.

"We started early, we have been very attentive to details, our work is comprehensive and progress has been made."


see also
China crisis for British rowing
21 Jul 08 |  Rowing
Sacked coach attacks China 'medal lust'
18 Jul 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Doubts over Liu's Olympic fitness
17 Jul 08 |  Athletics


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