China has appointed an experienced gymnastics team for the 2020 Olympics starting this month in Tokyo as they aim to return to the top of the podium after failing to win a gold medal in Rio de Janeiro four years ago.
Former general world champion Xiao Ruoteng, two-time parallel bar world champion Zou Jingyuan, Olympic bronze medalist Lin Chaopan and Olympic rookie Sun Wei will compete in the men’s event.
The quartet was part of the team that won gold at the 2018 world championships and finished second, behind Russia, the following year.
Parallel bar specialist Lin, who won bronze in the team event in Rio in 2016, was chosen over Zhang Boheng for his superior international experience, despite the latter scoring higher in all three Olympic events.
“We believe that Zhang is a talented young athlete who can be the perfect endorsement for the whole team,” said male coach Wang Hongwei.
Liu Yang and You Hao, who were also part of the bronze-winning team in Rio, will be heading to their second Olympics and competing in individual events.
Tang Xijing, the full silver medalist at the 2019 World Championships, will lead the women’s team, with Ou Yushan, Lu Yufei and Zhang Jin completing the lineup.
Two-time uneven bars world champion Fan Yilin and teenage balance beam specialist Guan Chenchen filled the two spots for individual events.
China won nine gold medals in artistic gymnastics at the Beijing Games in 2008 and four in London four years later, but finished with just two bronze medals in 2016.
The 2020 Olympics will begin on July 23 after being delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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