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Tian Liang demoted from national team
Updated: 2005-01-26 22:49

Olympic champion Tian Liang has been ejected from China's diving team for violating state sport regulations and taking part in too many "commercial activities", state media said on Wednesday.

Olympic diving gold medalist Tian Liang[R] walks out of the training camp in Xi'an with coach Zhang Ting, January 26, 2005. [newsphoto]
Tian Liang, who won gold with Yang Jinghui in the synchronised 10-metres platform and bronze in the individual event at the Athens Olympics last year, was demoted to a provincial squad, Xinhua news agency said.

 "Tian Liang has seriously violated the regulations of the General Administration for Sport, adversely influencing preparations for the Olympic Games," a sport administration official named Li Hua was quoted as saying.

 It did not give details of what kinds of activities he had engaged in that violated regulations. Beijing hosts the next Summer Olympics in 2008.

 Tian, who also won the 10 metres platform title at the Sydney Olympics, was among 50 Olympic gold medallists from China who travelled to Hong Kong on a victory tour after the Athens Games last August.

 State media dubbed Tian a "diving prince" and the 26-year-old has been a fixture at banquets and store-opening ceremonies alongside his squad mate and fellow Olympic champion Guo Jingjing.

 Guo won double Athens gold, in the individual three-metre springboard and with Wu Minxia in the synchronised event. She was also criticised but "admitted her mistakes" last week, the semi-official China News Service said.

 The Chinese Olympic team gained a best-ever haul of 32 gold medals in Athens last year, only three fewer than the first-place United States. That has raised hopes of China topping the medal table in 2008.

 "Time is limited and the tasks of preparing for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is heavy. Athletes should wholeheartedly devote themselves," sport official Li Hua was quoted as saying.

 "We hope the administration of the team can be strengthened through this case, especially the administration of excellent and top athletes."

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