Veterans to lead Chinese women for hockey medal

2008-07-27 08:14:43 GMT       2008-07-27 16:14:43 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Five two-time Olympic veterans willspearhead the Chinese women's hockey team to a medal finish at the upcoming Olympics.

On the hockey team name list unveiled here on Saturday, Chen Zhaoxia, Huang Junxia, Cheng Hui, Tang Chunlin and Zhou Wanfeng have attended two Olympic Games (Sydney and Athens) and many other international competitions. Besides, seven others played in 2004 Athens Olympics.

The remaining seven young girls, aging from 19 to 23, are the new faces for Olympics.

With experience and skills of veterans and younger players' courage and vigor, the Chinese women's lineup will display a first-class performance in Beijing.

Coached by South Korean Kim Chang Back since 1999, the Chinese women qualified for the Sydney Olympics for the first time and finished fifth. Four years later, they finished fourth in Athens.

Ranking sixth in the world, China targets a medal in the Beijing Olympics. However, tough duel is inevitable as China has been drawn in a group with the world titlists the Netherlands, Sydney Olympic champions Australia and Asian powerhouse South Korea.

Compared with the women, the Chinese men's team are all relatively new faces since it is their first time playing at Olympic Games. South Korean coach Kim Sang Ryul took the team to 2006 Doha Asiad runner-up, their best ever result. The lineup for the Beijing Olympics is almost the same as the Asiad squad. Ranking17th in the world, the Chinese men eye a breakthrough for top-eight.

The hockey tournament of the Beijing Olympics will start on Aug.10 and run until Aug. 23.

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