|Li Changchun (C,front), a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, poses for a group photo with members of the Chinese sports delegation to the upcoming London Olympic Games in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, July 10, 2012. Commissioned by President Hu Jintao, Li Changchun met with the Chinese sports delegation to the London Olympic Games in Beijing on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
BEIJING, July 10 (Xinhua) -- China will send 396 athletes in 23 sports to the upcoming London Olympic Games, it was announced on Tuesday.
The team, consisting of 171 men and 225 women athletes, will also be accompanied by 225 officials for the Games which start on July 27.
According to the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC), China will be represented in 23 of 26 sports at the Summer Games after it has failed to qualify for soccer, equestrian and handball.
A total of 29 Beijing Olympic titlists, including badminton star Lin Dan, swimming ace Liu Zige and sharpshooter Du Li, will lead the team at the quadrennial games.
Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, on Tuesday encouraged the athletes to do their best at the London Games and make the country proud again.
At Beijing 2008, host China sent its biggest-ever Olympic team of 639 athletes who finally won 51 gold medals, and stunned the world by standing on top of the medal table on home soil.
By winning 51 golds, 21 silvers and 28 bronzes, China also relegated the mighty United States to second place.
Now China will look to extend its domination to London as the squad has been strengthened by comeback men's 110m hurdling star Liu Xiang and swimming prodigy Sun Yang.
But China's sports head Liu Peng said China will face strong challenges in repeating the feats of Beijing Olympics and has warned against complacency. "The athletes from around the world have worked very hard for the Games and they are so eager to make breakthrough and win medals, so the competitions will be hotly contested," said Liu, head of the Chinese General Administration of Sport.
"The Chinese athletes must get fully prepared and ready to face the challenges. We have to fight for each gold."
Special Report: London Olympics 2012