Chinese in 'Good Spirits,' Head to Rotterdam
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After a week in France, the Chinese world teams will depart for the Netherlands on Sunday for the upcoming world championships.

The Chinese delegation left Beijing on Oct. 3 for a training camp with the French teams. The Chinese gymnasts spent a week acclimating to Europe, team manager Ye Zhennan told the Chinese media. Both teams plan to leave Sunday on a six-hour bus ride to Rotterdam, a week before the opening ceremonies at the Ahoy Arena.

Teng Haibin, the 2004 Olympic champion on pommel horse, is back on the Chinese team after a six-year absence.

The Chinese men are the three-time defending world champions and are favorites again in Rotterdam. The team includes Olympic gold medalists Chen Yibing and Teng Haibin, still rings world champion Yan Mingyong, parallel bars world silver medalist Feng Zhe, newcomer Zhang Chenglong and Lu Bo. National all-around champion Guo Weiyang is currently the alternate.

The depth of the Chinese team allowed them to leave behind three current world champions: Zhang Hongtao (pommel horse), Wang Guanyin (parallel bars) and Zou Kai (high bar).

Zhang Chenglong outscored Zou — also the reigning Olympic champion on floor exercise and high bar — on his keys events at the Chinese championships in August in Hunan. The 21-year-old Zhang, who scored 16.125 in the high bar final in Hunan, said he is nervous but looking forward to his first worlds.

"After all, it's the first time I've been to such a big competition," he said. "My heart will definitely be racing, but I will try to go all out and perform at my best."

China's women's team includes four members of its gold medal-winning squad from the 2008 Olympics: balance beam world champion Deng Linlin, uneven bars world champion He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan and Yang Yilin. Joining them are national all-around champion Sui Lu and Doha World Cup uneven bars champion Huang Qiushuang, with Wu Liufang listed as the alternate.

The 19-year-old Jiang has assumed the role of team captain from two-time Olympian Cheng Fei, who is trying to come back from a torn ACL suffered in 2009.

"I was a litte anxious at first, because I felt like I didn't have that leadership quality," Jiang said of her new responsibility. "[My responsibility will be] to go everywhere with a good head and keep everyone's enthusiasm up. My character is fairly cheerful, and whether training goes well or badly it doesn't affect my mood."

Ye Zhennan said training time was more limited because of the need to share the equipment with the French gymnasts, but that most of the time was spent cleaning up routines.

"The team is in good spirits, and everybody's frame of mind is good," Ye said. "We hope to display the highest level in competition."

2008 Olympic medalists Benoit Caranobe and Thomas Bouhail lead the French men's squad of Gaël Da Silva, Hamilton Sabot, Arnaud Willig and Cyril Tommasone. World and European medalist Yann Cucherat elected to stay home with his wife, who is expecting their second child.

The French women will be missing world vault bronze medalist Youna Dufournet, who suffered a knee injury in May at the national championships. The French women's squad consists of Aurelie Malaussena, Rose-Eliandre Bellemare, Marine Brevet, Marine Petit, Pauline Morel and Eva Maurin. Maurin is a late replacement for Clara Della Vedova, who suffered an ankle injury Sept. 25 at a dual meet with Spain.

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