China names final gymnastics squad for Tokyo Olympics

BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese artistic gymnastics team announced its squad for Tokyo 2020 here on Saturday.

Lu Yufei of Henan competes during the floor exercises event of women's individual all-round final at the 2021 Chinese National Gymnastic Championships in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 7, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

World all-around champion Xiao Ruoteng and parallel bars world champion Zou Jingyuan will lead nearly the same squad sent to the 2019 World Championships to fight for the Olympic medals, along with their teammates Sun Wei and Lin Chaopan.

Uneven bars world champion Fan Yilin will join newly-crowned women's national all-around champion Lu Yufei, balance beam starlet Guan Chenchen and Ou Yushan along with Zhang Jin and Tang Xijing.

"Most of the coaches have no hesitation on Xiao, Zou, and Sun, but find it's hard to choose between Lin Chaopan and Zhang Boheng," said Wang Hongwei, men's team head coach.

Zhang's scores in all three trials are higher than Lin's, but Team China made the final decision to choose Lin for his greater experience in internationals and his previous better performances in the team event.

China's goal for Tokyo 2020 is a comeback after they endured a history-making zero-gold embarrassment in Rio 2016. China edged off Russia to gain the men's team world title in 2018, but lost to Russia in 2019.

"We believe that Zhang is a talented young athlete who can be a perfect backup for the whole team," said Wang.

Rings specialist Liu Yang put on a nearly perfect routine of 6.500 difficulty points on the third men's team trial on Friday, despite a back injury.

"To be honest, I'm really satisfied with my form right now. I believe that I will be more confident on the rings in Tokyo," said Liu. Tokyo Olympic Games will open on the night of July 23.

According to the Tokyo Olympic Games technical regulations for gymnastics, each team should submit its list 24 hours prior to the start of the qualification. Each squad includes four members for the men's and women's team events respectively, and two each for the men's and women's individual events.