By Sportswriter Lin Deren
BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- With five Olympic gold medalists in the squad, the Chinese shooting team is ready for another explosion in London Olympics, expecting to reproduce the feat they had accomplished on home turf four years ago.
As a shooting superpower, the 23-member Chinese team have been qualified for 14 out of the 15-event shooting competitions. Though they moved away from the familiar Beijing venue, their competitiveness should not be overlooked.
Du Li, Pang Wei, Guo Wenjun and Chen Ying, all crowned in Beijing, came back to the team after a post-Olympic break, forming the backbone of the strong squad.
Du and Pang got married and gave birth to a son after the Beijing Games.
Du spent more time in recovering and returned to the team in early 2011. The world class female shooter brought China the first gold in Sydney, and shot down the gold in the women's 50m rifle three positions after failing to claim the first gold of the Beijing Games in the 10m air rifle event.
"Du is still recovering," said Du's coach Shao Jianhua. "But you should not forget that she is an elite shooter, and she is on the right track."
Du's husband Pang is also on the right track. The Beijing champion on the men's 10m air pistol got fired up by clinching a London spot in 2011 after a lackluster three years.
Tan Zongliang, also competing at the men's 10m air pistol event, is the oldest shooter in the team. London Games will be his fifth Olympics, but he was still striving for his first Olympic gold.
Guo Wenjun and Chen Ying were competitive in the pistol events. Chen breezed through the Olympic qualification competition and Guo is the defending champion on the women's 10m air pistol.
Zhu Qinan, who claimed the men's 10 rifle title at 2004 Athens Games, failed to take gold in Beijing Olympics, but he had been improving step by step after the Games. The 25-year-old shooting genius collected six World Cup golds during the four year, as well as the first place in the 2009 and 2010 World Cup finals. Zhu also picked up the 50m rifle three positions after Beijing 2008, giving him two chances to fight for a gold in London.
Five shotgun shooters, including Liu Yingzi, Hu Binyuan and Wei Ning, will participate in four of the five shotgun events.
The 29-year-old Wei Ning, who got an Olympic silver eight years ago, is fighting for her golden dream. The female skeet shooter showed her power by winning the gold medal at 2012 ISSF London World Cup, on the very venue that will hold the Olympic shotgun event.
Another two veteran shooters Hu Binyuan and Liu Yingzi were also experienced enough to compete for Chinese first Olympic shotgun gold after female shooter Zhang Shan's epic crown in 1992.