Special report: 2008 Olympic Games
By sportswriter Shan Lei
NANJING, East China, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- China is ready to give everything out to put up one of the best competitions at the men's basketball event at the Beijing Olympics, but they also need some luck to fulfil the goal.
It is almost a Mission Impossible to advance from the preliminary round as China is grouped with world top three teams, Spain, Greece and the United States, as long as Germany and Angola in Group B.
China's least goal is to enter the second round, and they want to produce the best-ever results at home.
"I hope miracle happens at the Olympics," said Hu Jiashi, team manager and vice director of the China Basketball Manangement Center, the country's basketball governing body, on Friday.
China has to score at least two wins at the preliminary round to advance.
"We won't take on Germany and Angola as our targets, as the media and experts suggested. I cannot say we must beat the U.S. or Spain. But who says we cannot score from the other opponents? We beat world champion Serbia & Montenegro at the 2004 Athens Olympics. We beat Slovenia to advance to the top 16 at the 2006 World Championship. The women's team also beat the United States at the warm-up in April. Everything is possible," Hu said.
China completed its Olympic warm-up matches with a 75-46 win over Iran on Friday at the Diamond Cup, running 14-2 in total.
They will play a closed-door match against Russia on Aug 6 at Beijing before their Olympic debut against the United States on Aug. 10.
The two losses came from a defeat to Angola by 72-71 at the Stankovic Cup, and a 67-55 defeat to Australia on Wednesday.
"We didn't play well at the loss to Angola. But we got ready and came back strong to beat them here (83-74). We could have been better in the match to Australia. We learned a lot and found our weakness through the losses. I'll work on them after we go back to Beijing. The training sessions in the following days will be more orientated to our group opponents," Hu added.
Hu said China is quite awarded of the shortcomings the opponents will capitalize on during the Olympics - to isolate Yao Ming and cut off the connection between Yao and passers.
"We have no secrets to our opponents. They will definitely take full-court one-on-one defence when they face China. They'll try to wear Yao down as he is the critical stature of our offence. Obviously, we'll do our things to deal with them."
This is the first time the Olympics will be held in China. Basketball, the arguable first sport in China, is one of the hottest events at the Beijing Games.
"To win or to lose, it doesn't matter. The priority is to cheer up the fans. We could lose games, but we cannot let the fans down. This is a chance for centuries. We'll give our fans the best Olympic basketball competition in the Chinese history," Hu vowed.