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China's Basketball 3rd-class Without Yao Ming
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Hu Jiashi, China Basketball Administration Center vice director, said in an interview on October 8 that the goal for the national basketball team was a gold in this year's Asian Games and that the team would be only third-class without Yao Ming, the Yanzhao Metropolis News reported Monday.

Although China failed to reach the eight finals in the 2006 Basketball World Championship that ended last September, rumors are flying that the BAC has framed a medal-winning plan in 2008.

Hu denied the rumors yesterday, saying the bottom line for the Olympic Games would be eighth place.

He confirmed that the gold is the aim for men's and women's national basketball team in the upcoming Asian Cup to be held in Doha, Qatar.

"The men's basketball team lost the gold in the previous Asian Games and last year's East Asian Games, so it's very important to recapture the lost gold medal for building spiritual strength for the teams," he said.

Hu said he agreed with the national basketball team coach Jonas Kazlauskas that it would be a great loss to the Chinese team if Yao Ming couldn't attend the Asian Games, adding that the Chinese men's basketball team would only be a third-class team without Yao.

However, Hu believed it would be a good opportunity for other team members to perform harder and play more important roles on the team.

According to Hu, Wang Zhizhi and Yi Jianlian would be included in the team for the Asian Games.

Hu spoke highly of Jonas Kazlauskas, who previously headed the Lithuanian national team and took the Chinese team last year, regarding his competence and methods on managing the team.

(China Daily October 10, 2006)

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