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Yao Ming predicts 2008 medal glory
By Chen Xiangfeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-14 05:59

"We have to get used to highly physical competition, so it is important for our players to compete in European leagues or the NBA. Our basketball league should also try and attract good players from abroad."

Yao is encouraging more of his national teammates to play abroad like him.

"The head coach (Jonas Kazlauskas ) told me Yi Jianlian and some other players should go to the NBA or leagues in Europe. I back his idea and I believe they have the ability to compete in higher level competitions."

Yao and China are to face their biggest test yet since Yao came home on Monday after an ankle operation in the USA. This is the Stankovic Continental Champions Cup, which tips off on July 26th.

Joining a group of the world's best teams that feature Olympic gold medallists Argentina, European champions Lithuania, Oceania champions Australia, African champions Angola and the American 1st runner-up Puerto Rico, Asian champions China are expecting a tough challenge.

"China's target is not in Asia. We have set our sights on the world. We will learn a lot through competing with the world's best teams," said Yao.

However there might be a regret that the NBA stars of other teams are still in doubt about their appearances in China.

Yao is also unsure his ankle will have improved enough for him to compete.

"I hope I can play. But it all depends.

"I have recovered about 50 to 60 per cent of my fitness.

"If it all goes according to plan, I will have to rest for at least four weeks."

"Year of the Yao"
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