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All Chinese boxers in good shape, ready to end Olympic gold drought
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All the 10 men of the Chinese boxing team are in good shape and are ready to fight for a medal, maybe gold, at the Beijing Olympics, head Coach Zhang Chuanliang told Xinhua on Wednesday.

"We hope for the best and prepare for the worst!" Zhang noted.

The national boxing team wrapped up its six-day pre-match training at the Olympic Sports Center on Wednesday and is to move into the Olympic Village on Thursday morning.

Coach Zhang said the training went on "extremely well", with normal intension. "The ten boxers are all in good shape, with no one with injuries."

During the past several days, the training had been mainly focused on each individual boxer. But after the draw to be held on Friday, the team will study each opponent of the Chinese boxers, and stage special training against certain opponents, said Zhang.

When asked whether the boxers and coaches are feeling nervous, Zhang said they all suffer from some pressure, but at a very low level, and the athletes are not really nervous.

"I guess it's because we never set specific goals and exert pressure to the boxers before every big competition, including this Olympics," said the coach, "We only ask them to get well-prepared, and fight all out in each duel."

He noted that the whole team need to totally devote itself to the competition so as to grab the first Olympic boxing gold medal that China has been yearning for for decades.

The hope-bearer, 48kg boxer Zou Shiming is "both mentally and physically mature now", said Zhang. He used to be "pirate" at the ring, but his rivals have turned into "pirates", said the coach.

The Olympic boxing competition is to be held from Aug. 9 to 24 at the Worker's Gymnasium, with 11 golds to be taken.

(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2008)

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