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Ambitious Chinese weightlifters debut in Olympic training camp
20:29, August 06, 2008

The Chinese weightlifters, hoping for nine medals at least, debuted here Wednesday in the training camp gearing up for the Beijing Olympic weightlifting competitions to be started on August 9.

Chinese team leader Ma Wenguang, also president of the China Weightlifting Association (CWA), told Xinhua that his team wished to win medals in all nine categories that they were expected to participate in.

"We dearly want to secure the four golds in the categories we are the most competitive," Ma said, adding the weightlifters, who were said to be in good form, were vying for the best in the rest five categories.

World champion Chen Xiexia is China's favorite for the first gold in the 48kg event. "I was settled as I arrived in the training camp at the Beihang University," said Chen. Her rivals include two Thais and two Turks.

The first shooting gold and the first weightlifting title will be closely watched by the hosts because Chinese Olympians are hot candidates in both events.

"We are better prepared than any other Olympics," Ma said, giving footnotes on his big ambition.

All the four women Olympians are favorites in their respective categories, including a pair of Athens Olympic winners.

Paying keen attention to their health before the Games, they wore long sleeves inside the air-conditioned gym before warming up themselves enough.

In her warm-up and practice, Chen seemed sound with her left leg, which was said to be injured. "I'm fine," she told Xinhua after the training and a sauna therapy.

The baby-faced Long Qingquan is the youngest Chinese weightlifter to the Olympics. The 19-year-old first-time Olympian said that "It's natural that I would feel a little nervous, but I think everything will be Okay before I step into the competition venue."

The Chinese weightlifting team just moved into the Olympic village before their first training this afternoon. A 77kg competitor Li Hongli said, "The Olympic village is quite good but the food is just so so."

"The Chinese food is not cooked as what we usually have in China," Li said, in addition to his another complaint that he has not yet got his dress for the opening ceremony.

Most of the Chinese weightlifters might give up, willingly or not, the chance to be in the National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest due to its architecture, for the grand Olympic opening on August 8 night.

"They obviously have to save energy for upcoming competitions," explained a Chinese coach.

The Beijing Olympics will offer eight golds for men and seven for women in the weightlifting tournament.

Ma Wenhui, younger brother of president Ma and head coach of the Chinese women's team, was a bit more discreet than his brother. "We will take the final days before the Games to make our weightlifters adjust to their best, but we do not so eagerly eye for golds," he said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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