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Denmark launches Olympics 2012 campaign with new medals target, flag bearer

English.news.cn   2012-06-28 07:22:42            

COPENHAGEN, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Denmark is sending its biggest contingent of athletes in 16 years to the London Olympics 2012, where it is targeting eight medals, the country's Olympic federation said here Wednesday as it officially launched its campaign for the summer games.

In all, 112 athletes have been selected to represent the country in 17 separate disciplines, said the Sports Confederation of Denmark, which is responsible for selecting athletes to the games. It also revised to eight its expected medals tally, up from the seven medals which it had forecast end January.

Moreover, the contingent will be led by Kim Wraae, who won silver in the two-man kayak event at the Beijing Olympics 2008. He will carry the Danish national flag, the Dannebrog, at the head of the pack at the games' opening ceremony on Jul. 27.

"It will be simply huge to go to England...and we also expect a big outcome for our team," said Jesper Frigast Larsen, Chef de Mission for Denmark's Olympic team, at the launch of Denmark's Olympic campaign at Broendby Stadium, southern Copenhagen, one month before the start of the summer games.

He said the upward revision of the expected medals haul follows a success-rich spring season for several Danish athletes, who have performed well at national, European and World Cup level events in disciplines ranging from sailing to boxing.

The eight-medal hope is pinned on expected performances in badminton, tennis, cycling, handball, rowing, swimming, kayaking and sail sports, all traditional Danish sporting strengths, Larsen added.

The contingent is also heading to London largely free of injuries. There it will face weather and temperature conditions that are quite close to those in Denmark, the sports confederation said.

The contingent, at 112 confirmed athletes, with room for a few more selections yet, is the country's biggest since it participated in the Atlanta summer Olympics in 1996.

It comprises several highly-experienced names including three-time men's fours rowing gold medal winner Eskild Balschmidt Ebbesen, former men's world badminton champion Peter Gade, and former world women's number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. There are however, several new faces in boxing, wrestling, laser class sailing and athletics, among others.

The London games also mark the first time that both Denmark's men's and women's handball teams have qualified for an Olympic tournament, with the men' s handball players having won the European Championship in January 2012.

"I hope we can live up to our motto for the games: 'PB', or personal bests at the Olympic Games," Larsen said, adding that all the sports men and women in the contingent are ready to do their best for the team in London.

Referring to the selection of Wraae as flag bearer, he added that the kayaker was chosen in keeping with the tradition that the flag bearer be a "role model of hard work, and humble," and someone who is "the personification of the Olympic dream."

In Denmark, the Olympic flag-bearer is traditionally someone who has also won a medal at a previous Olympic games.

"It is a great honor to be allowed to be flag-bearer. I got goose-bumps when I learned of this, and I look forward to lead such a strong and large team to the Olympics," Wraae told journalists Wednesday, adding he will participate in the four-man kayak event at the London games.

The final list of selected athletes will be released on July 8, and the contingent will be accompanied by managers, sponsors and spokespersons while in London.

Moreover, top Danish figures including most members of the Danish royal family, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Culture Minister Uffe Elbaek are expected to attend part of the London Games, the sports confederation said.

Special Report: London Olympics 2012

Editor: Yamei Wang
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