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China's men's basketball team prepares for Group A opener against USA


08-05-2016 16:03 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

China's men's basketball team have a tough draw in Rio with their first game against the favorites and two-time defending champions, the USA.

China's coach Gong Luming hopes his squad can gain valuable experience from the stiff competition and noted the team arrived in the Olympic Village without any incident.

China were blown out in back-to-back warm-up games against the Americans, in addition to losses to Australia and hosts Brazil during the past ten days in their build-up to their Olympic campaign.

But Gong said that these exhibition contests taught the team important lessons in terms of what they lack against these strong opponents. Undoubtedly, that was a huge help for the young squad that has an average age of 23.

China were placed in Group A along with the USA, Australia, Venezuela, Serbia and France. They tip off their campaign against the American "Dream Team" Saturday.

"We had two warm-up games against the US and there is a lot for us to learn from them such as how to deal with the ball on the court. The Americans are the top team in the world with the best players. They can show us how far away we are from the top-level," said Zhai Xiaochuan, China forward.

PRC women's basketball team lose to hosts in exhibition game

China's women have fared much better than the men on the Olympic hardcourt. They finished sixth at the 2012 London Games and hope to improve on that result in Rio.

And to help prepare they took on hosts Brazil in an exhibition game Thursday before they begin their actual campaign with a Group B encounter against Canada Saturday.

Brazil would go on to win 73-66 as the Chinese struggled to find their rhythm, perhaps still adapting to the time difference. But the ladies will not allow the close loss to affect their confidence.

Injuries and maladies affecting women's team

Another Chinese women's team is not feeling so good as the gymnastics squad are struggling with illness and injuries ahead of the Olympic competitions, but world champ Fan Yilin is upbeat after the team won silver at the World Championships last year. 

The Chinese trained Thursday morning beginning with the balance beam and team captain Shang Chunsong looked uncomfortable during the session and had to put on a warm jacket while her teammates were practicing on the uneven bars.

Fan is the world champion on the uneven bars, but is having problems with her right forearm and was still experiencing some pain at the practice.

The biggest challenge to the Chinese squad is expected to come from the USA who beat China to the gold at last year's worlds Championships.

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