Olympics 2008: Boxing in China

Boxing has been an Olympic sport since 1920. However, until recently boxing in China has not been very popular  and was seen as having only marginal importance.

The popularity of boxing in China could be said to be reflected in its medal success. Throughout the long Olympic history of boxing has won only one medal. Chinese athletes have also achieved only one title in boxing outside the Olympic Games. In 2004, light flyweight Zou got the bronze medal at the Olympics in Athens. Boxer Zhang Xiyan won China’s first title in Boxing when she defeated Alicia Ashley from the USA in April 2006. Further names or events are not worth to mention here. China has a long way to go to achieve any further success in Olympic boxing.

However, China’s massive population of 1.3 billion people means that no other country has such great potential for sporting success. Over the last two decades China has experienced unprecedented economic growth. As a result the government now has the financial capabilities to support China’s young talents professionally and intensively. It is also not surprising that a country with such a strong socialist tradition to have the aim of improving its reputation in the world by means of extraordinary performance in sports.
When counting the total number of medals achieved by countries China came third in the 2004 Olympics. If you count only gold medals China took second place. This success gave all of China’s athletes a new impetus, which was reinforced considerably by Beijing winning the games in 2008. Therefore, four years after Athens, China’s prospects are very high indeed with experts expecting some medals in Boxing.

It is actually quite astonishing that China did not have much success in Boxing until now, given that China is renowned for having cultivated a long tradition in martial arts, including Kung Fu. However, China now often achieves great success in sports that it was traditionally never successful. With the help of experienced coaches from foreign countries, it is possibly only a question of time until Chinese boxers will finally set out to ‘conquer the world’.  The question is whether a nation that produced basketball star Yao Ming would also be able to produce a future Muhammad Ali?

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