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Chinese Athletes for the Olympics 2008

Athletes for the Olympics

Football

Dong Fangzhuo

Dong Fangzhuo was born on the 23rd of January 1985 in Dailan. He is currently playing for Antwerp having been lent out to them by Manchester United. After the contract runs out he will immediately return to Manchester United. In 2004 he was signed by Manchester United and became the first Chinese player to have been signed by Manchester United. The transfer money paid for Dong Fangzhuo is the highest amount that has been paid for a Chinese player up until now. In order to get working permission abroad Dong Fangzhuo must play for the Chinese national team regularly. In the season 2005/2006 at Antwerp Dong Fangzhuo scored 17 goals and became the top scorer of his team as well as the league.

Wang Dalei

Wang Dalei was born on the 10th of January 1989 in Dailan. He is currently playing as a goalkeeper for Shanghai Lianchen Zobon as well as the Chinese national team. In the summer of 2006 he was invited to train with Inter Milan. Wang Dalei has been on the radars of many European top clubs over the past few years and it is likely he will transfer to Europe soon. He is known for his lightning fast reflexes and his ability to get involved in the game, which is not usually the case with Chinese goalkeepers.

Gao Lin

Gao Lin was born on the 14th of February 1986 in Shanghai. Since 2003 he is playing for Shanghai Shenhua and since 2005 he is also playing for the Chinese national team. However recently Gao Lin was involved in a fight during a friendly match and may be banned from the Olympic team by the CFA. The fight took place during a match against the second division team Queens Park Rangers. After this incident Gao Lin had to return home together with six other teammates. He is still waiting for the CFA’s verdict.

Basketball

Yao Ming

Yao Ming was born on the 12th September 1980 in Shanghai and is a professional basketball player since 1997. Both his parents were very tall and both played for the Chinese national team. Yao Ming is 2.29 meters tall and is playing for the Houston Rockets who signed him in 2002. With 17 years old Yao Ming played his first amateur season in the Chinese league and played a good season. The following years he continued to play in the Chinese basketball league and in the 2000/01 season he became the MVP of the year. In the Olympic Games 2000 in Sydney he also was chosen as MVP and as of that time became more and more interesting for different clubs in the NBA. In the year 2002 he was then signed by the Houston rockets and left the Chinese basketball league. Even though he left the Chinese league he left his marks in it holding four different records which up to now have yet to be broken.

Yao Ming’s first season in the NBA did not start out very well, but by the time about half of the season was over his performances improved and from then on he played a solid season. After that his performances have constantly been improving. In the season 2005/2006 he was set back due to an injury for a while, but fortunately he got well quickly and continued to play just like he had played before. Nowadays Yao Ming has become a very important player in the NBA and one cannot imagine what the NBA would be like without him. Due to his charisma and his humor he is also a fans favorite.

Yi Jianlian

Yi Jianlian was born on the 24th of August 1987 in Shenzhen in the Guangdong province. He currently plays for the Guangdong southern Tigers. In 2003 an article was released in the Times magazine proclaiming him as the successor of Yao Ming. This article helped Yi Jianlian to become a known player across the world. He is said to be the most talented youth player since Yao Ming and his play style differs greatly from those of other Chinese players of his stature.

He is known for his dunking, rebounds and blockings. His physique is definitely good enough to be able to play in the NBA, but his offensive play is not yet developed enough. During the Olympic games in 2004 he played for the Chinese national team and showed his coach as well as every spectator what he is capable of.

However one big question that surrounds Yi Lianjian is his actual birth date. The Chinese national team has been accused of shrouding the real birthdates of their promising young talents. It is said that in a match in 2004 Yi Jianlian told a news reporter that he is 24 years old; later on he then denied having ever said something like that. The Guangdong Southern Tigers have confirmed that Yi Jianlian will sign up for the next NBA draft.

Chen Jianghua

Chen Jianghua was born on the 3rd of March 1988 or 1989 in the Guangdong Province. He is currently playing for the youth team of the Guangdong Southern Tigers and has is being closely watched by talent scouts from across the world. He is known for his agility and his speed.

In 2002 Chen Jianghua went to the USA for the first time after winning a Nike sponsored tournament in Shanghai. At this tournament he impressed the spectators as even at his young age he could easily dunk.

At the end of the year 2003 an article in the times magazine was published mentioning him. After this article he gained worldwide recognition. In 2006 he was selected to play for the Chinese national team at the FIBA World Championships. However just like with any other Chinese young talent his real birth date is questionable.

Athletics

Liu Xiang

Liu Xiang was born on the 12th of July 1983 in Shanghai. His professional career began by winning at the IAAF Grand Prix in Lausanne. Since that time Liu Xiang qualified for the final round at IAAF Olympics twice but was beaten both times by his idol Allen Johnson.

In May 2004 during an IAAF Race in Japan Liu Xiang managed to finally overtake his idol and won the race with an Asian best time. In 2004 in Athens he won his first gold medal with a time of 12.91 seconds. In 2005 he received an award as best newcomer of the year. In 2006 Liu Xiang managed to set a new world record in the 110m hurdles which he still holds today. Liu Xiang is looking to defend his gold medal from 2004 and the hopes of many Chinese are placed on him.

Tennis

Li Na

Li Na was born on the 26th February 1982 in Wuhan, Hubei. She became a professional tennis player in 1999 and won the first four ITF Tournaments which she participated in. She also won the first seven double ITF events she took part in. In 2000 due to her good performances at the ITF events Li Na managed to climb up to rank 136 in the world ranking.

By the end of 2002 Li Na had already won eleven ITF titles, but then she stopped playing for about 25 months, returning to play in 2004 without a rank. After her comeback she won 25 games in a row without a loss and won three more ITF events. The reason for her timeout is unknown, but it has been speculated that it might have been due for health reasons or because Li Na wanted to study at a university.

During 2004 she great matches and eventually managed to qualify for two WTA events of which she won one. Li Na was the first Chinese person to have won a WTA event. This victory also helped her reach the top 100 in the world rankings with rank 80.

The year 2005 was a successful one for Li Na and she concentrated mainly on WTA events. By the end of April she managed to reach yet another WTA final but lost. Despite the loss the great performances helped Li Na reach rank 33 in the world rankings. After this she got injured and could not play for three months which made her fall back to rank 56.

In January 2006 Li Na lost in the first round of the Australian open and fell back to rank 71. However in the following months she played great matches, constantly improving her performance until finally reaching rank 30, the highest place in the world rankings a Chinese has ever reaches so far. During this year Li Na tool part in most of the most important international tournaments such as Wimbledon or the US Open.

In 2007 she qualified for the Australian Open and made it into the fourth round where she was then defeated by Martina Hingis. Despite the loss the tournament was a great success, as it was the third time consecutively where she managed to reach the fourth round in a slam.

Sun Tiantian

Sun Tiantian was born on the 12th October 1981 in the Henan province. She won her first tournament in the year 2000 and actually won two in a row right away. In the following year she did just the same as the year before, also winning two ITF events.

The following year she took part in more challenging events and managed two win two more tournaments. In the year 2003 she finally made it into the US Open. Even though she was eliminated fairly early it was still a big step in her career catapulting her to rank 141. In 2004 she continued to take part in tournaments such as Doha or the Australian Open. Good performances in these tournaments enabled her to reach rank 118.

During the Olympic Games 2004 in Athens Sun Tiantian won Gold in the women’s doubles together with Li Ting. In the beginnings of 2005 she made it into a WTA Final for the first time in her career. During the following months her performance slacked off a bit, but she came back with a great performance at the US Open and in the following month she even beat Sherena Williams in a tournament in Beijing. Due to these performances she climbed up to rank 88, but eventually went back to 108 by the end of the year.

During the beginning of 2006 Sun Tiantian had many difficult opponents, but later on she managed to win her first WTA event in Uzbekistan. That made her the fourth Chinese to have won a WTA event. Her world ranking improved to 81 and she is currently the fourth best Chinese female tennis player.

Yan Bai

Yan Bai was born on the 21st of May 1989 in Nanjung. He started playing tennis at six years old and has already won two junior titles: the Hong Kong Junior Championships and the Asian Closed Junior Championships. He is not a professional tennis payer yet, he is however a promising talent whose progress should be closely watched. He is currently rank 10 and his ATP rating is 1072.

Yan Zi

Yan Zi was born on the 12th November 1984 in Sichuan. Up to 2002 she was not very successful and only played a minor role in the ITF tournaments. In 2002 though she managed to make it into the final rounds in many ITF events and managed to qualify for a WTA event in Shanghai. In this event she lost the first round and by the end of the year she was ranked 299th just making in into the top 300.

During the next year she participated in various important tournaments, but never made it past the first few rounds. She did however manage to qualify for a WTA event and reached the semi finals in two $50.000 events. The constant good performances throughout the year ensured that Yan Zi reached rank 179 in the world rankings and brought her closer to the top tennis players in the world.

The year 2004 was more of a setback for Yan Zi. During this year she concentrated mainly on WTA events, but performed rather poorly at them. As the year progressed she started participating at ITF events again in order not to lose to much rank in the world ranking. By the end of the year however she ended up on rank 248.

The year 2005 was a very successful one for Yan Zi. She participated in many important tournaments, but was eliminated quite early most of the times. Later on she managed to reach her personal best by making it into the semi-finals in a $50.000 tournament. In September she then managed to pull off the unthinkable, she reached the final in a tier 3 WTA event and won the whole tournament. This is extraordinary, as Yan Zi managed to win a WTA event without having priory won any ITF tournament. She managed to reach one other final in another tournament this year and these performances helped her reach rank 104 by the end of the year. This put her within range to be directly qualified for WTA events and put her into qualifying range of the grand slam.

In 2006 Yan Zi participated in many events, but did not manage to reach the later rounds. She did however prove her talent by eliminating various top 15 players from the tournaments. Even though she did not make it into any finals this year she could still account for the greatest success in her career by winning the Australian Open Doubles together with her partner Zheng Jie. This was the first time Chinese players had even made it into a grand slam final, let alone winning one.

Throughout her career Yan Zi managed to win one WTA event and her highest rank was 72. In the doubles ranking she is on rank 4 and managed to win 16 ITF titles.

Zheng Jie

Zheng Jie was born on the 5th of July 1983 in Chengdu. The first major achievements of her career where in 2002 when she managed to win two ITF tournaments in a row and qualified for a WTA tournament. In this tournament she was disqualified immediately, but by the end of the year her rank was 183.

The year 2003 started decently with many rather important tournaments but lacking good results. In august Zheng Jie managed to win a $50.000 tournament and beat many other talented tennis players, eliminating them from the tournament. Later on that year she managed to reach the semi-final and the quarter-final in two WTA-tournaments. She also reached the final in two $50.000 tournaments but she did not manage to win either of them.

All in all the year 2003 was very successful and at the end of the year Zheng Jie had reached rank 93. She continued the next year just like she had finished the previous one of, with good performances and managing to reach round 4 in the French open.

In 2004 during the Olympics in Athens Zheng Jie was eliminated in the first round. This setback didn’t disturb her though and she continued performing very well and won another ITF event and reached the final of a $50.000 tournament in Shenzhen. By the end of the year she had managed to reach rank 67 in the world rankings.

In 2005 Zhen Jie started fantastically winning a WTA event right away. She continued to play in top form and reached the final in a WTA event in Morocco. In the French open she was eliminated in the first round and fell in the world rankings; however she managed to regain her position by reaching the quarterfinals in Haven. At the US open and other events she was also eliminated fairly quickly, but nonetheless showed her talent by winning against strong opponents and managed to reach rank 42 by the end of the year.

At the beginning of 2006 she performed rather bad and lost a few ranks in the world ranking. She managed to regain these ranks by reaching the quarterfinals in Miami. The new won confidence helped her win the whole tournament in Estoril. She continued to stay in amazing shape and won another tournament in Stockholm, where she managed to beat the at that time second best player in the world Anastasia Myskina.

Towards the end of the year a knee injury prevented her from playing and forced her to drop out of the US Open in round 2. By December she was fully recovered though and won the gold medal in tennis singles and doubles at the Asian games. At the end of the year she also won the asian games by defeating her doubles partner Yan Zi. Throughout her career Heng Jie managed to win 3 titles and 4 ITF titles. Her highest rank was number 23 of the world.

Badminton

Fu Haifeng

Fu Haifeng was born on the 2nd January 1984 in Jiayang. He is one of the best badminton players and with 332 km/h he currently holds the record for the fastest hit. This makes Badminton the fastest racket sport in the world.

During the Olympics 2004 in Athens he competed together with his partner Cai Yun, but they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Jens Eriksen and Martin Lundgaard Hansen from Denmark. However in 2006 they both managed to win the Badminton World championships.

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