Olympic champion Yang Yang (A) will head a largest-ever Chinese team to compete at next month's Turin Winter Games, the country's sports authorities said in Beijing on Wednesday.
China fields a delegation of 151 members, of which 76 are athletes. They will enter nine of the 17 sports at the Feb. 10-26 event in the Italian city.
"It is China's largest-ever team to a winter Olympics since we made debut in the winter games in 1980," said Xiao Tian, deputy director of the State General Administration of Sports, at a ceremony held Wednesday to mark the founding of the Chinese delegation.
A Summer Games powerhouse, China is still a winter sports fledgling. China didn't end its winter Olympic gold draught until the Salt Lake City Games in 2002 when Yang Yang (A) took two short track speed skating titles.
When asked about China's gold-medal target in Turin, Xiao said: "We wish that we could win all events that we enter, but it's obviously unrealistic."
"Hopefully, we could surpass the previous games' result of two golds," he added.
China pins its medal hopes in short-track speed skating, speed skating, figure skating and women's freestyle aerials.
Li Nina is the current leader in the women's freestyle aerials World Cup rankings, with teammates Xu Nannan and Guo Xinxin both in top ten.
Wang Meng is a hot favorite for women's short track speed skating events as the 21-year-old remained unbeaten in all 500m World Cup races this season, and Zhang Dan/Zhang Hao, the Grand Prix finals runners-up last year, will be serious title contender in the pairs figure skating.
More than 5,000 athletes are expected to compete at the Turin Olympics. A total of 84 gold medals are up for grabs.
Roster of the Chinese delegation:
Short-track Speed Skating:
Men: Li Jiajun, Li Ye, Li Haonan, Sui Baoku, Cui Liang;
Women: Yang Yang (A), Wang Meng, Fu Tianyu, Cheng Xiaolei, Zhu Mile;
Men: Zhao Hongbo, Tong Jian, Zhang Hao, Li Chengjiang, Zhang Min;
Women: Shen Xue, Pang Qing, Zhang Dan, Liu Yan;
Men: Yu Fengtong, Li Yu, Lu Zhuo, An Weijiang, Zhang Zhongqi, Li Changyu, Gao Xuefeng;
Women: Wang Manli, Ren Hui, Wang Beixing, Zhang Shuang, Xing Aihua, Wang Fei, Ji Jia, Zhang Xiaolei
Men: Qiu Sen, Han Xiaopeng, Ou Xiaotao, Liu Zhongqing;
Women: Li Nina, Xu Nannan, Guo Xinxin, Zhang Xin;
Men: Zhang Chengye;
Women: Liu Xianying, Kong Yingchao, Sun Ribo, Yin Qiao, Hou Yuxia, Dong Xue;
Men: Li Geliang, Tian Ye, Xia Wan, Chen Haibin, Wang Songtao, Han Dawei, Li Zhiguang, Ren Long, Zhang Qing, Zhang Chengye;
Women: Li Hongxue, Wang Chunli, Jiang Chunli, Song Bo, Xu Yinghui, Huo Li, Jia Yuping, Liu Yuanyuan, Liu Liming, Man Dandan;
Women: Sun Zhifeng, Pan Lei;
Men: Li Yang, Yang Guang, Tian Zhandong, Wang Jianxun;
Men: Li Guangxu;
Women: Dong Jinzhi
(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2006)