Official expects young golfers to bare their teeth

By Tang Yue (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-04 13:18
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BEIJING - China's top golf official is cautious about the country's chances at November's Asian Games as the list of candidates for the event was named on Monday.

However, Zhang Xiaoning, the secretary-general of the China Golf association (CGA), stated he expected the nation's young golfers to start shortening the distance between China and its powerful golfing neighbors.

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The CGA announced an 11-player national training camp list, comprised mainly of teenagers, from which four men and three women will be selected to compete at the Games in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

"There is still a big gap between us and the Asian first-class golf countries, like South Korea, Japan and India," Zhang said during the news conference, which also saw the CGA extended its partnership with equipment-provider TaylorMade.

South Korea swept all four gold medals on offer at the 2006 Doha Asian Games and has won 12 gold medals in total at the Games. Japan is second on the list with seven golds.

By contrast, China has won only won medal - by Zhang Lianwei, who finished third in men's singles event at the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games in Japan.

Over the past few years, though, China has invested a lot in the sport - especially after it was voted back into the Olympic Games last year and will make its return at the 2016 Rio Games.

As a result, a member of young players appear on a fast track to success, including 14-year-olds Zhang Jin and Yan Jing, who are both on China's Games list.

"We have been preparing for the Asian Games over the past two years. We have provided a lot chances for the amateur golfers and a lot of young players have stood out," Zhang Xiaoning said.

"Playing on home soil, I just hope our young players can play at their normal level and get the much-needed experience to catch up with our neighbors."

The 11 players will train the whole of this month and then play some matches in September. The final list will be announced at the end of next month.