China coach Li Yongbo plays down expectations at World Championships

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Lin Dan has joined in training with the Chinese national team to prepare for the World Championships.

Beijing: The head coach of Chinese National Badminton Team, Li Yongbo has attempted to take the pressure off his players ahead of the World Championships, saying the Chinese badminton team does not set any hard targets at the World Championships that will be held in Jakarta from August 10 – August 16. It would not surprise him if some of the young Chinese players who will play their first ever World Championships could end up as world champions.Lin Dan has joined in training with the Chinese national team to prepare for the World Championships.

The Jakarta World Championships is badminton’s largest individual event before the 2016 Rio Olympics, and it has always been an indicator of how well the Chinese team will fare in Olympics. If we look back into the 2010, and 2011 world championships, China has deliberately swept all five gold medals on both occasions, followed with a stunning swept of all five gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics’ scandal-hit badminton tournament. Nevertheless, China is currently facing major challenges of sustaining that high rate of success in preparation for the Rio Olympics.

“A lot of our players were at or near the peaks of their careers at the 2012 Summer Olympics, it’ll be hard to repeat our successes at London, that’s why I am not setting any goals at the Jakarta world meet, just let them go out and play,” said Li Yongbo.

Li Yongbo was also keen to keep a lid on the expectations placed on his women’s singles players after their performance has been unsatisfactory at the first half of this year.

“Even though the women’s singles players are showing signs of recovery, none of them are at the top of their form when going into the World Championships. Therefore, I am not setting any results-orientated goals on them, but still hope they could have good showings in Jakarta,” added Li.

Much has been made of Lin Dan’s slump which started at the 2015 Australian Open, and then the 2015 Indonesian Open where he suffered 1st round exit on both tournaments. He was also bundled out of the Chinese Taipei Open semi-finals by Chou Tien Chen. Li Yongbo told reporter that Lin Dan still undergoing systematic training in preparation for the world championships; but Lin’s age, and especially since he was not as hungry for victory as before, were major factors contributing to his recent disappointments.

“How well he will perform in the world meet depends largely on his desire to win the tournament. I am not going to expect him to do well in all tournaments, and he should know how to adjust accordingly,” said Li.

The China badminton team is in the final stages of preparation for the world championships, in order to get use to a hot and humid conditions at the Istora Senayan Stadium where the tournament will be held, the Chinese shuttlers have been training in an arena where some of the air conditioners were turned off. The wind-drift has also been adjusted in an attempt to mimic as close to the Istora Senayan Stadium as possible.

Below is the complete list of all Chinese players named to World Championships rosters:
Men’s Singles: Lin Dan, Chen Long, Wang Zhengming
Women’s Singles: Li Xuerui, Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian
Men’s Doubles: Chai Biao/Hong Wei, Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan, Cai Yun/Lu Kai
Women’s Doubles: Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei, Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli, Luo Ying/Luo Yu, Ou Dongni/Yu Xiaohan
Mixed Doubles: Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei, Xu Chen/Ma Jin, Liu Cheng /Bao Yixin, Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong

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