(Reuters) – China has named an experienced gymnastics squad for the 2020 Olympics starting this month in Tokyo as they aim for a return to the top of the podium after failing to win a gold medal in Rio de Janeiro four years ago.
Former world all-round champion Xiao Ruoteng, two-times parallel bars world champion Zou Jingyuan, Olympic bronze medallist Lin Chaopan and Olympic debutant Sun Wei will compete in the men’s all-round event.
The quartet were part of the team that won gold at the 2018 world championships and finished second, behind Russia, the following year.
Parallel bars specialist Lin, who won bronze in the all-round team event at Rio in 2016, was picked over Zhang Boheng for his superior international experience, despite the latter having higher scores in all three Olympic trial events.
“We believe that Zhang is a talented young athlete who can be a perfect backup for the whole team,” men’s coach Wang Hongwei said.
Liu Yang and You Hao, who were also part of the bronze-winning team in Rio, will head to their second Olympics and compete in the individual events.
Tang Xijing, the all-round silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships, will lead the women’s team, with Ou Yushan, Lu Yufei and Zhang Jin completing the line-up.
Two-times uneven bars world champion Fan Yilin and teenage balance beam specialist Guan Chenchen took up the two spots for individual events.
China won nine artistic gymnastics gold medals at the Beijing Games in 2008 and four in London four years later, but finished with just two bronze medals in 2016.
The 2020 Olympics will start on July 23 after being delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)