NANNING, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Despite bunch of hurdles ahead, the Chinese badminton head coach Zhang Jun urged his disciples to challenge for every gold medal on offer at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua during the ongoing Sudirman Cup, Zhang said that "we're aiming for all five gold medals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As for how many we'll actually get, it depends on the performance of our athletes."
Zhang, also president of the Chinese Badminton Association, said the Chinese team is quite competitive in all five events, especially with the young players making their eye-catching shows at the international arena.
"We have young athletes competing in every event, and I hope they will display their eagerness and fight to their best for the gold medals in Tokyo."
However, Zhang began to elaborate these events in a cautious manner as he is too clear to make any clear-cut prediction.
"We've got young players like Chen Yufei, He Bingjiao in women's singles. Though they may not be in the top class, but really close," said Zhang.
The third-ranked Chen won the All England Open 2019, while 6th-ranked He took the French Open 2016 for their respective major achievement, a little shy compared to either world crown or Olympic laurel.
Coming to the men's singles, Zhang seems to be more worried, saying that "players like Chen Long and Lin Dan, are still leading in our team, which means our young men's singles players still have a lot to learn, and are in a distance away to catch up with the best in the world."
Among the best achievement for world's No. 2 Shi Yuqi, who ranked only second to Japan's Kento Momota, are the crown of BWF World Tour Finals and the runner-up placing in the World Championships, both in 2018.
Zhang who also acts as chief coach for the doubles, said that there's the highest uncertainty in the men's doubles, yet China's best-placed Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen are only ranked third, next to Indonesian Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, and Japanese duo Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.
But "I still hope men's doubles will surprise everyone for their competitiveness," said Zhang.
For the women's doubles, which was a traditional dominant event for China, Japan has staged its serious challenge by occupying three of the top four places in the world, and surely has its big dream for the 2020 Olympics.
"A victory over Japan in women's doubles will highly increase the morale of our team," Zhang said instead.
The mixed doubles is the only event which China leads the world ranking even with two pairs as Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong are placed ahead of Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping, coach Zhang is still tight-lipped, saying that "I have worries in the mixed doubles. There's no sure bet during the Olympic Games."