BEIJING, June 11 (Xinhua) — Following is a list of points of interest to Chinese during the London Olympic Games:
July 27 – Open ceremony
The Olympic Stadium will be the focus of world attention when it hosts the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games at 2100 GMT on July 27. The ceremony, whose most expensive tickets cost 2012 pounds, will provide an opportunity for the world to view the culture of the host city and the UK and the artistic expression of the artistic director – Danny Boyle, an Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire. The 27 million pounds opening ceremony named the “Isles of Wonder”is inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
July 28 – First gold
A guessing game has already started in the country about who will be the first Chinese Olympic winner in London. The first gold medalist of the London Olympics is set to emerge from the shooting range around 1600 GMT when both the women’s 10m air rifle final and the men’s 10m air pistol final conclude. Chinese shooters are good at both shooting events.
Olympic debutantes Yi Siling and Yu Dan will vie for the 10m rifle gold while defending Olympic champion Pang Wei and veteran Tan Zongliang fight for the 10m air pistol. Shooting results are hard to predict, just as in the 2000 Olympics where China’s top hope for the Games’ first gold medal, Zhao Yinghui, ended up miserably.
The 48kg class competition in women’s weightlifting will close at 1700 GMT with Chinese Tian Yuan as a shoo-in.
China’s top swimmer Sun Yang will make his first appearance in the Olympic Aquatic Center as he competes in the men’s 400m freestyle. At 1900 GMT, the women’s archery final will begin, with Chinese expected to mount serious challenge to South Koreans.
July 29 – China’s basketball opener
Four years ago in Beijing, the Chinese men’s basketball team put up an unforgettable game against Spain in which the host team had led by 14 points going into the fourth quarter but ended up by losing 10 points after overtime. In London, China will open against Spain.
Yao Ming has retired from the Chinese team while Spain now has world championship gold, Olympic silver and two European titles to its belt. A spectacular game is expected even though the two sides are no longer on the same par.
On the same day, Chinese divers Wu Minxia and He Zi will have two-prong assault at the gold in the women’s 3m springboard synchronized event and Chinese weightlifters are expected to dominate the men’s 56kg class and women’s 53kg class.
In the women’s 10m air pistol, Guo Wenjun and Su Yulin are heavily favored for gold. The women’s skeet final will see 30-year-old Chinese veteran Wei Ning fight for gold. Chinese fencer Zhong Man will start a defense of his Olympic gold in the individual saber event.
July 30 – Clash of gymnastics giants
A close competition is anticipated between China and Japan in the men’s gymnastics team event. Without a top all-around gymnast to spearhead the team, the Chinese squad led by Chen Yibin and Zou Kai only holds a slim advantage over Japan. It is more difficult for China to defend the team crown since the new rules score only three out of five participants from every side. In last world championships in which China claimed its fifth straight team title and then in the Asian Games in which China took the 10th straight crown, the winning team totaled less than one point more than Japan.
China will continue to reap gold in shooting and weightlifting. Zhu Qinan will open his defense of his Olympic 10m air rifle title, and the weightlifting golds in the men’s 62kg and women’s 58kg classes are set to fall into Chinese hands. China is also tipped to win the men’s 10m platform synchronized diving and heavily favored in the women’s 100m backstroke swimming.
July 31 – Chinese fencers
day will witness Chinese fencers fight for the men’s team foil top honor at Novotel London ExCeL, Royal Victoria Dock. Coached by former star fencer Wang Haibing, the Chinese team claimed the foil team title in the 2011 world championships. Ma Jianfei, Lei Sheng, Huang Liangcai and Zhang Liangliang all rank among the world top 40. The 2012 Olympics offers Chinese foil fencers the best chance to win the team gold.
The day also features women’s 10m platform synchronized diving and men’s 69kg division weightlifting, for which China is highly favored. Four Chinese swimmers who were all born after 1995 will take a shot at the 200m individual medley gold and the Chinese women’s gymnastics team will seek a medal finish in the competition scheduled to start at 1630 GMT.
August 1 – Table tennis gold
The first table tennis gold medal – from the women’s singles – will be decided on August 1. Li Xiaoxia and Ding Ning are tipped to dominate the event. Possible threats to their campaign might come from former Chinese players who switched their allegiance to other countries or regions. Chinese head coach Shi Zhihao has claimed that this gold is set to belong to Chinese players.
The most coveted gymnastics gold – from the men’s all-around – will be at stake for the day. Japanese Uchimura Kohei has become the top contender since Chinese Yang Wei retired. The day will also witness Chinese divers try to fend off challenges in the men’s 3m springboard synchronized event and the Chinese women’s basketball team open against Angola. Besides, Chinese rowers will fight for the women’s pair and quadruple sculls golds while weightlifters vie for the titles in the women’s 68kg and men’s 77kg divisions.
August 2 – Archer Fang
Four years ago in Beijing, Zhang Juanjuan won the women’s archery gold from “Invincible” South Korea. In London, Fang Yuting is good and sharp enough to upset South Koreans.
The championship final of men’s table tennis singles will very likely become a Chinese vs Chinese game. On the same day, judoka Yang Xiuli will start a defense of her 78kg class gold and the Chinese men’s basketball side will play against Australia.
August 3 – Tong Wen back
After two tumultuous years, Chinese Tong Wen will vindicate her position as the queen of judo on August 3. In the 2008 Olympics Tong Wen won the gold medal in the women’s over-78kg class. On May 10, 2010, she was banned for two years because of Clenbuterol doping and was required to give back her gold medal from the 2009 world championships. Tong subsequently contested the ban and took her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport who ruled that a doping violation could not be proved and found in her favor ordering that she be reinstated immediately with all rights. She returned to international competition in May 2011 winning gold at the Moscow Grand Slam. “I will sweep aside all the rivals in the London Olympics,” says Tong.
The badminton mixed doubles final will be contested on August 3, the day which will also see Lu Chunlong and Dong Dong fight for the men’s trampoline gold, and Zhang Jian and Ding Feng compete in the men’s 25m rapid fire event.
August 4 – Big time for Sun Yang
The men’s 1,500m final is set to attract eyeballs. Sun Yang has grown from an eighth-place finisher four years ago to a hot contender for the gold in London. In the world championships last year, Sun shattered the 10-year-old world record with a time of 14:34.14. He is expected to become the first Chinese man to win an Olympic swimming title. The day will also see the Chinese women fight for the 4×100 medley relay gold.
The end of action in the swimming pool signals the start of track and field competition. Wang Zhen will strive for a medal in the men’s 20km race walking and Li Yanfeng will seek the women’s discus crown.
Two badminton titles will be decided in women’s singles and doubles. The women’s tennis singles final will take place, too, hopefully with 2011 French Open champion Li Na in contention. The day will also see the finals of the men’s epee team, women’s trampoline and women’s 50m rifle three position.
August 5 – Flying Man
At 2100 GMT, the electrifying men’s 100m final will be held in the Olympic Stadium with Usain Bolt, who ran the year’s best time of 9.82 seconds, as the hottest favorite. The world record holder of 9.58 seconds is notorious for breaking rules. In the world championships last year, the Jamaican was disqualified after falling foul of the one-strike-and-you’re-out false start rule.
The men’s singles and doubles badminton finals will be held in the day. It will be a perfect matchup if Lin Dan clashes with world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
The day will also see Wu Minxia dive for the women’s springboard gold, Chinese vie for three gymnastics golds including the men’s floor exercise, the Chinese fencing team led by Lei Sheng fight for the men’s team foil crown, and the Chinese women’s basketball team confront with the United States.
August 6 – Lord of Rings
The 28-year-old gymnast Chen Yibing will go all out for his second Olympic rings title. He has become the spiritual leader of the Chinese team even though he is never a top all-arounder like Yang Wei. As one of the most news-worthy athletes in China, Chen had dated, and broken up with “trampoline queen” He Wenna. He loves Weibo, a twitter-like blogging, and likes to interact with his fans. Chen is invincible in the rings, which is the most certain event for Chinese gymnasts in London. The day will also see He Kexin defend her uneven bars gold.
Good news might come from the sea, where Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Xu Lijia will finish her Laser Radial sails. The Chinese men’s basketball team will play its last group match against host Britain. The match is expected to decide if the Chinese basketballers will advance to the knockout stage or go home early.
August 7 – Women’s volleyball
Less fancied Chinese women’s volleyball team qualified for the Olympics through the World Cup, rekindling Chinese enthusiasm for the sport. The former Olympic champion is expected to play a quarter-final on August 7.
If it can make that far, the Chinese women’s basketball team will play in the quarter-finals, too.
The day will witness Liu Xiang run a preliminary race at 1000 GMT; He Chong and Qin Kai fight for the men’s 3m springboard title; the Chinese women’s table tennis team play for the top team honor; gymnasts fight for the golds in the men’s horizontal bar, parallel bar and women’s uneven bars.
August 8 – Flying Liu Xiang
Liu Xiang is expected to run the 110m hurdles semifinal at 1800 GMT and the final at 2100 GMT. The Shanghai native became China’s first ever Olympic track champion at Athens 2004 but four years later caused national angst when he dramatically pulled out injured in front of a packed Bird’s Nest Stadium at Beijing 2008. On his home turf in Shanghai at the Diamond League meeting, he clocked 12.97 seconds in wet conditions to beat two Americans, David Oliver and world outdoor champion Jason Richardson.
On the same day, Wu Jingyu is expected to fight for the women’s 49kg class gold in taekwondo; Wang Hao, Zhang Jike and Ma Long for the men’s table tennis team gold, and Xue Chen/Zhang Xi for the women’s beach volleyball title.
August 9 – Women’s boxing
Three gold medals of women’s boxing, an Olympic debutant event, will be decided in the 51kg, 60kg and 75kg divisions. Chinese Ren Cancan and Li Jinzi, both world champions, will fight for the 51kg and 75kg respectively, with the former standing a better chance for gold.
The women’s 10m platform final will be held in the day with Chen Ruolin and Hu Yadan as top hopefuls. Chinese female wrestlers will seek their third straight Olympic gold in the 72kg class freestyle event. The Chinese flatwater canoe/kayak team is odds-on favorite for the 1,000 pair gold.
The day also features women’s volleyball semifinals, women’s water polo final and the women’s soccer final.
August 10 – No-Gold day
The 14th competition day will very likely see Chinese return to the Athletes’ Village without a gold. Zhang Wenxiu will compete in the women’s hammer final with her personal best two meters off the Olympic champion-caliber throwers.
The women’s synchronized swimming free routine final will start at 1500 GMT. Chinese will be happy with a medal from the event.
The women’s hockey final and third-place playoff will take place on August 10. The Chinese team would accept any result as long as it makes it to the semifinals.
The day will also see the semifinals in men’s basketball, volleyball and handball and the third-place play-off in men’s soccer. These games will be close and exciting but have nothing to do with Chinese teams.
August 11- Thomas Daley
Our attention will be on 18-year-old British boy Thomas Daley even if the day’s program also includes women’s volleyball, women’s basketball and men’s soccer finals.
The “Dream Team”of Chinese divers is least certain of the men’s 10m platform gold because of the existence of Daley. The seventh-place finisher in the 2008 Olympics had beaten Chinese Qiao Bo and Zhou Luxin in the world championships and claimed two European championship titles. The most expensive tickets for Daley’s event sell for 450 pounds, much higher than other diving events.
The day will witness new champions in the men’s 50km and women’s 20km race walking events.
August 12 – Dream Team
The last day of the Olympic Games will witness men’s marathon and finals of men’s volleyball, wrestling, modern pentathlon and rhythmic gymnastics. World championship silver medalist Chen Qian will look for a medal in the women’s modern pentathlon.
Before we watch the closing ceremony, let’s enjoy “Dream Team” action. The new generation of the “Dream Team” has fallen on some tough times. First it was Chauncey Billups tearing his Achilles’ tendon, then Dwight Howard‘s back surgery and finally Derrick Rose‘s ACL tear. It will be the last Olympics for Coach Mike Krzyzewski. The “Dream Team” regained the Olympic title in Beijing and hopes to repeat glory in London. A spectacular basketball final will be a perfect end to the Olympic Games.