After four years of hard work and waiting, Chinese Olympians are gearing up for athletic breakthroughs as well as a clean campaign at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics next month.
China announced on Monday that it will send 416 athletes, including 35 Olympic champions — its largest athletic delegation ever for an overseas Olympics — and it pledged to compete with full efforts against doping.
The delegation is made up of 160 men and 256 women. They will compete in 210 events of 26 sports at the Games, which open on Aug 5 in Brazil.
Liu Peng, China's sports minister and the delegation chief, stressed that clean competition is the top priority of China's Rio campaign.
"Holding a strong stance against doping, we've implemented a zero-tolerance policy against drug use and have taken all necessary measures to guarantee cleanness of our quest for athletic success in Rio," Liu said at an announcement ceremony on Monday.
By cooperating with international anti-doping authorities, China has conducted a series of pre-event and competition doping tests, while organizing education against accidentally taking drugs in contaminated food, according to the China Anti-Doping Agency.
Having demonstrated its athletic prowess by winning 51 gold medals in Beijing in 2008 and 38 in London in 2012, Chinese Olympians will face a tougher challenge in maintaining dominance in traditionally strong events, including badminton and gymnastics, since other countries have improved at such sports.
"However, we should try our hardest to make progress in high-profile and mass popular events such as swimming, track and field and collective ball games in Rio, to inspire greater public participation in sports," Liu said.
Boasting breakthrough performances at the world championships last year, China's swimming and track and field teams aim to win medals in multiple events, including men's 400m freestyle swimming, men's long jump and women's race walking, with the help of experienced foreign trainers.