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Two Badminton Golds Would Satisfy China in 2008
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China has set itself an easily achievable goal of two gold medals for the badminton competition at the 2008 Olympic Games, the national badminton administration said on Tuesday.

Women's singles and doubles are the two events China must win in the Beijing Games said Liu Fengyan, head of the national badminton managing body, at a year-end meeting on Tuesday.

However, in the remaining three events, the men's singles, men's doubles and double mixed, China should nevertheless strive to achieve gold, Liu said.

The latest International Badminton Federation rankings show that China holds three and four places respectively out of the top five in women's singles and doubles, and that Chinese players lead in all events but double mixed.

Questions could then be raised as to why China has set the bar so low ahead of the Olympics on its own turf. For answers, look to the Doha Asian Games where China’s seemingly overwhelming advantage did not help as the powerhouse lost in both the men's and women's single and the men's doubles.

Officials attributed the slump to players being too dependent on their coaches during matches and say that former world No. 2 and China's Asian Games flag bearer Bao Chunlai and women's world No. 2 Xie Xingfang were particularly to blame.

International team head coach Li Yongbo said he hopes Bao will "obtain a stronger character" as "Bao and Xie are both key players in my plan for 2008."

Li said players will be trained to be more independent from next year and that the team has decided not to offer accompanying translators or coaches to help players during international competitions.

(China Daily December 29, 2006)

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