23 Jul 2008

China wants to beat 32 golds won in Athens

12:32 pm on 23 July 2008

China's target for the Beijing Olympics is to surpass the 32 gold medals they won in Athens four years ago.

The Chinese sports ministry spokesman Zhang Haifeng says they do have a target, which is to rank among the top nations in the medals table.

China will have its largest delegation for any Olympics at the Games, with more than 600 athletes in their squad.

In Athens, China finished second in the medal table behind the United States, who claimed 36 gold.

But Zhang played down his country's chances of overtaking the Americans despite their home advantage and the heavy investment in training potential medals winners.

China have apparent weaknesses in swimming and athletics, in which 110m hurdler Liu Xiang is the only real title contender, and Zhang concedes it will be tough to beat the Athens tally.