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August 23: 31 gold medals
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China's gold medal hopefuls:

Canoe/kayak flatwater - men's C-2 500m (canoe double); diving - men's 10m platform; taekwondo - women's 67+kg; table tennis - men's singles; women's volleyball

Chen Zhong

Chen Zhong

The Beijing Olympics will welcome its most exciting moment on this day, when 16 events award 31 gold medals. With competition approaching its conclusion, final struggles will continue in a number of ball sports. However, the Chinese team will not focus their attention on those.

Diving and table tennis will end on this day. Wang Liqin, Ma Lin and Wang Hao, the same table tennis team that represented China at the last Olympics, will compete in the Beijing Games, which might be their last. With regard to their world ranking as well as their recent results, it is possible for them to win both the gold and silver medals. However, fans have to learn lessons from their disappointing results in Athens. Four years later, it is hoped they do not to disappoint the Chinese people.

Women's volleyball is also an area of Chinese focus. Their victory in 2004, replayed on television many times, has been encouraging to countless Chinese people. Over the past four years, the Chinese women's volleyball team overcame difficulties caused by injuries and the turnover of new and old players, finally coming up with its best team in the Olympic year. Although their achievements at the recent World Grand Prix Finals are not good, their efforts will hopefully not disappoint the nation in the upcoming Games.

At the 2007 World Swimming Championships, diving yielded 10 gold medals, 9 of which were won by the Chinese dream team. Men's 10m platform was the only event that did not win gold. That year, Gleb Galperin ranked first, 35 points higher than Lin Yue and Zhou Luxin. Since then, the two Chinese divers have been hoping to prove at home that Chinese men's platform diving is still great, although the team will be without Tian Liang and Hu Jia.

Defending champions will also appear in two other events. Meng Guanliang and Yang Wenjun, were gold medalists in the C-2 500 meters, a doubles canoeing event. After four years of performing separately and together, they will again compete as partners in Beijing. Also, it will be the third Olympics for Chen Zhong, a gold medalist in taekwondo in the 67+ weight class. It was a surprise when these three won gold at the last Olympics and it would bring them pleasure to once again be champions. These athletes must seize this opportunity to win.

(China.org.cn July 30, 2008)

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