China Ready to Sweep Olympics
Chinese head coach Li Yongbo sent out a stern warning to their Olympic rivals that the host country are ready for a clean sweep of medals at the Beijing Games in August.
|Following China's dominant performance at the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup competitions in Jakarta recently, Li said it showed the Chinese are not about to let anyone else barge in on their home celebrations. |
If China can be dominant in a foreign country, under hostile conditions and amid intense competition, as the Thomas and Cup Cups offered, then playing in front of enthusiastic home support should put them in an even more powerful position.
Although other countries offered more resistance this year, China still proved themselves too good.
"I agree that badminton in China has declined a bit but I am also pleased that internationally the standard of badminton has risen," said Li.
"That helps to push us to improve further. It is far better to win these Cups when there is stronger competition than not having much competition."
South Korea, Japan, and Malaysia are among the teams in the men's division that can now push China while Indonesia has emerged as a strong team in the women's section.
China won their sixth straight Uber Cup with a 3-0 victory over Indonesia 3-0 while the men's won their third consecutive Thomas Cup, beating South Korea 3-1.
Li said China's ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of opponents, as well as producing a continual stream of world-class players, helps them to maintain their dominance.
"The key to us repeatedly winning over the years has been down to how we have been able to analyse the game better than others," he said. "Team spirit has also always been very strong and the players are always motivated to do well for their country, themselves and their team.
"As a coach, our goal is to win gold medals always, whether it is Sydney, Athens or Beijing. That is our aim."
While the women look unbeatable, the men's struggled at times with world number one Lin Dan losing to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei as China won their semi-final 3-2.
However, the men still have a lot of depth with three players in the world's top four. Bao Chunlai is ranked third behind Chong Wei while Chen Jin is number four.
"The team event is different from the individual," said Li. "I would say that the race is still open. Denmark, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia can still make it difficult for us. We also do not want to rule out England in the mixed doubles and Thailand in both the men's singles and doubles.
"We have a solid coaching set-up and we are proud to have players who go the extra mile for the pride of nation. There is still work to be done ahead of the Olympics but we will be ready."
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