Rookies dominate China’s Asiad squad in preparation for Tokyo Olympics

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Beijing, Aug 6 (IANS) China on Monday announced its squad for the 18th Asian Games, to be held in Indonesia later this month, with 631 out of the 845 competitors lacking any Asiad or Olympic experience.

Chinese athletes are set to compete in 38 sports, consisting of 376 disciplines, with only weightlifting and kabaddi not involving any Chinese competitors. Among the 1,200-plus delegation, there are 19 Olympic champions in swimming, cycling, taekwondo, trampolining, diving, volleyball and badminton.

Notable names include China’s most decorated shuttler Lin Dan, who will play in his fifth Asian Games, as well as three-time Olympic champion swimmer Sun Yang and 100m sprinter Su Bingtian, reports Xinhua news agency.

The average age of the Chinese delegation is a relatively youthful 24.4 years, with competitors ranging from 13 to 61 years old.

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In preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, China will, for the first time, send a fully-equipped logistics service team to the tournament, consisting of medical staff, trainers, therapists, physical fitness instructors, and information technicians.

“We will set up a logistics camp outside the Village for the first time in order to better serve the athletes,” said Liu Guoyong, director of competition at the State General Administration of Sport. “It’s a practice of sports reform in China and also a successful experience we have drawn on from other sporting powers.”

“This Asian Games functions as a mid-term test and a valuable experience leading up to Tokyo 2020, and also serves as a comprehensive check on the state of competitive sports in China.”

“The Chinese delegation is aiming to demonstrate both the sportsmanship and sports prowess at the Asian Game which will also help us find promising stars, and allow our young athletes to gain practical experience,” added Liu.

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China has been a dominant power since the New Delhi edition in 1982, leading the medal tally in nine straight tournaments. At the 2014 Asiad, China collected 151 golds and 342 medals overall, far ahead of the 79 golds and 234 medals of hosts South Korea.

The Jakarta Asiad will stage 40 sports and 465 disciplines, among which 32 sports and 330 disciplines will also feature at the Tokyo Olympics.

The eight non-Olympics sports will be bowling, kabaddi, sepak takraw, squash, wushu, bridge, paragliding and jetskiing. E-sports will be an exhibition event, while 3×3 basketball features at the Asian Games for the first time.

More than 11,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions are set to compete at the world’s second-biggest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.

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The upcoming Asiad will be the second for Indonesia, which also hosted the tournament in 1962. The Asian Games, themed “Energy of Asia”, runs from August 18 to September 2 in Jakarta and Palembang.

–IANS

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