China hopes to defeat America in battle for gold at Olympics

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Beijing, July 20 : China is hoping to bring an end to United State's supremacy at the last three Olympics.

Chinese athletes' are already ruling in events such as gymnastics, table tennis and martial arts. But the sporting chiefs have spent the past few years concentrating on the games where Americans excel like swimming, basketball and athletics.

China is so keen to top the score board that it has borrowed Western sporting expertise, for example they hired an Australian coach Tom Maher to train its women's basketball team.

Chinese officials will closely monitor the total medal tally while the rest of the world's eyes will be on the individual performances.

According to experts, America would take an early lead as there are many swimming events in the beginning of the Games.

"We expect this to be one of the most competitive Olympics in recent history. That is down to a combination of China's investment in its Olympic programme, Russia's decision to do the same and the policy of some nations like Britain, which are targeting specific medals in sports that are important to them. China has to be considered the favourite. Every host nation receives a huge boost," the Telegraph quoted Darryl Seibel, a spokesman for the US Olympic Committee, as saying.

China boycotted the Games throughout the 1960s and 1970s because the International Olympic Committee recognised Taiwan as a member.

According to Simon Shibli, head of the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, China's gold share in this year's Games is likely to reach between 44 and 46 out of the 302 available.

"I predict they could top the table this year, based on them continuing their rate of improvement and factoring in the home nation effect," he said.

Meanwhile America, he estimated, would win 38 to 39 golds.

The extensive training programme of China is responsible for producing heroes like Liu Xiang, the reigning Olympic and World 110 metres hurdles champion.

Zhang Yining, the world's top female table tennis player is also expected to repeat her double triumph at Athens.

"If you win a lot of medals, then it shows you have advanced as a country," said Mao Zhi Xiong, professor of sports psychology at Beijing Sports University. "It means the economy is growing, that living standards are improving and that there is better technology," he added.

Whereas, American hopes are on swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff, who hope to win eight and seven gold medals respectively. If Phelps succeeds he will beat the American swimmer Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven golds.

Whatever happens in Beijing, Chinese supremacy at the Olympics looks almost certain within a matter of years.

"With a population of 1.3 billion - more than four times that of the US - future Chinese dominance was a statistical certainty. You start doing the math, and that's what keeps me up at night," said Steve Roush, the US Olympic Committee's head of sports performance.

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