Feet on the ground
Touted as potential Olympic table toppers, China strive to avoid pressure
The number of sports that the 416 China athletes will be competing in at the Rio Olympics. This will be China's largest overseas Olympic contingent.
China expect strong pressure to win medals at next month's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro from teams which have begun to better challenge their dominance in sports like badminton.
China will send the largest-ever overseas delegation to the 2016 Olympics, which will be held in Rio from Aug 5 to 16, as they vie with the US to top the medal table.
The delegation of 416 includes 256 woman athletes and 160 men.
China are expecting a haul of gold from sports such as table tennis, badminton, gymnastics, weightlifting, shooting and diving.
They topped the medal table at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and came second at the 2012 London Olympics behind the United States.
Led by stars like swimmer Sun Yang, table tennis' Ma Long and Ding Ning, badminton wonder Lin Dan and a crack diving and weightlifting team, the Chinese will once again be expected to push for top spot, although they are trying to keep a level head.
Sports minister Liu Peng said China's contingent had to "keep a clear head, calmly analyse and correctly grasp the serious situation of the Rio Olympics ahead of us", the official China Sports Daily reported.
The English-language newspaper said China will face a tougher time in Brazil to keep up their dominance in sports like gymnastics and badminton as other countries have improved their abilities.
"However, we should try our hardest to make progress in high-profile and mass popular events such as swimming, track and field and collective ball games in Rio, to inspire greater public participation in sports," Liu said, according to the China Daily.
In light of the shock developments over Russian state-sponsored doping, Liu said they have taken a zero-tolerance approach to doping and have taken "all necessary measures" to ensure that the athletes are clean. - Reuters.
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of sports that the 416 China athletes will be competing in at the Rio Olympics. This will be China’s largest overseas Olympic contingent.