Wang Hongwei: “Zhang Boheng Could be Substituted In”

Despite winning the all around at China’s final Olympic Selection Camp, the controversial decision was announced last week to leave Zhang Boheng off the Olympic team. Wang Hongwei, the head of the men’s program, justified the decision to the press:

“The coaches all agreed the top three athletes of the men’s program (Xiao Ruoteng, Sun Wei, and Zou Jingyuan) were on the team, we all had different opinions on who should be the fourth member.”

The final decision for the fourth member was narrowed down to Zhang Boheng and Lin Chaopan. With Zhang Boheng winning the all around at the most recent Olympic selection camp, his spot on the team seemed like a no-brainer. But in the end, Lin Chaopan was selected despite being outscored by Zhang Boheng on every event at the most recent internal test.

“Lin Chaopan, the captain of the men’s program, can inspire his teammates to put up a fighting spirit and encourage everyone to work hard,” Wang said.

On the other hand, Wang used inexperience to justify leaving Zhang off the four-person squad. “Although he [Zhang Boheng] has not yet competed in a major international competition, we think he is a very well-rounded alternate. If any of the four members selected show any problems before the competition Zhang Boheng can be substituted in.”

The Chinese men have swapped alternates for team members at the Olympic Games before: Zheng Lihui replaced Lu Yufu in Sydney and Guo Weiyang replaced Teng Haibin in London.

One of the main points of emphasis for this team was mental strength and consistency. After mistakes on high bar at 2019 Worlds resulted in China losing the gold medal (and a similar issue at 2018 Worlds almost causing China to lose gold), the Chinese men are determined not to let history repeat itself.

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