Olympics-China simulates possible Tokyo atmosphere to train athletes

FILE PHOTO: Rowing - 2018 Asian Games - Men's Single Sculls
FILE PHOTO: Rowing - 2018 Asian Games - Men's Single Sculls - Final - JSC Lake - Palembang, Indonesia - August 23, 2018. Zhang Liang of China celebrates winning the gold. REUTERS/Edgar Su

January 8, 2021

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s huge army of Olympic athletes are preparing behind closed doors for this year’s Tokyo Games, simulating the kind of atmosphere they might experience in Japan, the Xinhua news agency reported.

China finished third, behind the United States and Britain, in the 2016 Rio Olympics medal table and are determined to do well in the July 23 to Aug. 8 global sports showpiece.

“By simulating an actual competition environment and designing actual competition procedures, the athletes will be better prepared to compete under high pressure…” archery coach Pan Minrui was quoted as saying.

The International Olympic Committee hopes spectators will be able to attend the Games but doubts persists especially after Tokyo woke up to its second state of emergency on Friday.

The Chinese gymnasts, however, are leaving no stones unturned in their preparation, Miao Zhongyi, director of the Gymnastics Management Centre of General Administration of Sport of China, said.

“All the athletes will also need to live and compete in a strict epidemic prevention and control environment during the Tokyo Olympics, so if they can get used to such an environment, they will get a psychological edge on the Olympic arena,” said Miao.

China’s rowing and canoeing teams are training at the Qiandao Lake in east China’s Zhejiang province.

“Winter training is the most important period for physical training,” said men’s double sculls world champion Zhang Liang.

“We have the Olympic Games and the World Championships in Shanghai this year. We have a tight schedule, which requires us to make full use of every day of winter training to set a solid start of the year.”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Toby Davis)