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China basketball marks 20-year partnership with Nike


07-19-2016 16:06 BJT

The men's and women's national basketball teams are gearing up for the Rio Games. After several exhibitions, both squads have been named, with the announcement coming at a ceremony in Beijing. And both have their sights on success in South America. 

The teams were unveiled in the Chinese capital. The announcement coinciding with the national program's 20-year partnership with US apparel giant Nike. The sports brand has been sponsoring the hoops teams since 1996, and the Rio Games will mark the sixth Olympics that they will be outfitted in their attire.

So in their new uniforms, they will look good, but they hope to play even better. The Chinese women will face a tough task, as they are in a group with contenders the USA and Spain.

China basketball marks 20-year partnership with Nike

China basketball marks 20-year partnership with Nike

"I think our opponents from Europe and America are challenging. We have played them several times and know their strengths. We will not be intimidated by them. We have our own style of play and tactics," said Shao Ting, China forward.

"Every team has their own way of playing. We'll stick to our gameplan, and that will allow us to make a breakthrough, and that will help us advance further in the competition."

Shao's comments came during the Nike unveiling -- and is known as "Unlimited", the idea is to encourage everyone to break barriers and to challenge themselves.

Last year, the men's national team was able to overcome the barriers set out by continental opposition, and win the Asian Championships. That victory sealing their passage to the Rio Games. 

The players are expected to write a new chapter in Chinese basketball history. The squad going through a transitional phase with the youngsters like Zhou Qi and Wang Zhelin. Both were drafted by NBA teams last month. But the squad will still be led by veteran Yi Jianlian, who knows the difficulties facing the squad.

"The teams we'll face at the Games are definitely strong, but we are prepared. We have to know how to dictate our style of play on the court. We'll give everything to play well against them. We'll fight hard for every minute, for every ball, and during every game," Yi said.

Yi and his teammates will tip off their campaign in Rio on August 6th when they face two-time defending champions the US. The Chinese team has a goal to reach the last eight for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games.

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