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China expects 3 golds from "water sports" in 2008
Updated: 2005-12-26 10:50

Rowing, canoeing and sailing are called "water sports" in China and governed by Wei Di, director of the Chinese Water Sports Administration Center.

China won its first ever water sports gold medal in the Athens Olympics as Meng Guoliang and Yang Wenjuan triumphed in the men's canoeing C2 500m final.

One won't be enough as Beijing hosts the 2008 Olympics. Three is a realistic goal.
Recruitment of foreign coaches is a key to China's success in the water sports.

The Chinese canoeing team is headed by Josef Capousek, who had helped as a coach the German team win 17 Olympic gold medals. Another foreign recruit Marek Ploch is the man behind China's historic win in Athens.

The first gold medal in 2008 for China in water events should justifiably come from canoe and kayak. Besides the men's C2 500m, the men's C2 1000m and women's k4 500m also have gold chances.

Since December last year, a new canoeing team was set up for the Beijing Games. After months of training in the Qiandaohu Lake and Yunnan Chenggong Plateau, the team went on to compete in three World Cups and the world championships, winning three titles in all.

Chinese rowing is expected to end its Olympic gold drought in 2008 since winning three World Cup events in 2005.

Canoeing slalom may become China's another gold point although this event came to China only five years ago.

"In the 1972 Olympics, hosts Germany won all four gold medals, which told us that everything is possible," Wei Di said. "Since the event is easily affected by natural conditions, we should take advantage of the chance as hosts and may take all by surprise in 2008."

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