China goes for the top prize

China goes for the top prize

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Islam News – By fielding 413 athletes in Tokyo, its largest ever delegation, China aims to land at the top of the gold medal count. On Thursday, China was tied for the lead at 15 with Japan. It trails the U.S. 31 to 38 in overall prizes — but to China, silver and bronze barely count.

For decades, Beijing has focused on less prominent sports that are underfunded in the West, or sports that offer multiple Olympic gold medals. Women’s weight lifting was an ideal target: A niche pursuit with multiple weight classes, it offers up four potential golds.

Rooted in the Soviet model, China relies on the state to scout tens of thousands of children for full-time training at more than 2,000 government-run sports schools. The assembly line is working. Chinese athletes dominate sports like table tennis, badminton and shooting.

Cost: The public is increasingly wary of the sacrifices made by China’s Olympians. Academic instruction in sports schools remains paltry, and athletes are lucky to see their family a few times a year.

Source: The New York Times