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China Sends Biggest Team To Rio

Posted: Aug 2, 2016 at 7:54 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

China is sending its largest team to an overseas Olympics, but forecasters predict the 416 athletes will fail to match the country’s greatest medal haul.

Eight years after leading the world with 100 medals at Beijing 2008, China is expected to win 89 medals in Rio de Janeiro, according to a study from Dartmouth College.

Of those, 38 are predicted to be gold, behind an expected US tally of 48, said Camila Gonzales of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

In traditional strengths such as table tennis, badminton, weightlifting, shooting, gymnastics and diving, ageing or injured stars and fiercer competition have dampened expectations.

Fans are pinning their hopes on figures such as Ma Long, the world’s top-ranked table tennis player, and controversial star swimmer Sun Yang.

The towering 1.98m Sun, 24, will be the most recognisable member of China’s team after winning the 400m and 1500m freestyle at London 2012, but his current form is largely unknown after he missed the national championships in April with a foot injury.

His biggest challenger could be Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri, 21, who registered the second fastest swim in history — just three seconds behind Sun’s 2012 world record — when he won the European Championship 1500m this year.

Ma, who has dominated the ping-pong rankings, was controversially omitted by China’s selectors for the 2012 Olympics singles. Ma finally won a global singles title at his fifth world championships last year, after a career that has raised questions about his mental resilience in showpiece finals.

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