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6 Aug, 2008 08:01

Russian athletes at home in Beijing

Team Russia is traditionally one of the biggest at the Olympics – fielding more than 400 athletes this year. To mark their arrival in China, the so-called Russian House has been opened in Beijing. The national flag was h

With more than 400 Olympians, Russia has one of the biggest teams at the Chinese games. And although a number of recent doping scandals have deprived the squad of some medal hopes, Russia is still expected to make an impact of the medals table.

The Head of Russia’s Olympic Committee Leonid Tyagachov identified boxing and wrestling as big hopes for Russia.

“Wrestling always brought us a lot of success in the past, winning at least ten medals, as well as boxing, though the medals aren’t always gold. Our athletes and coaches are pleased with the way the training is going and morale is high in the camp. Therefore, we hope for a large medal haul, perhaps with a little help from God,” Tyagachov said.  
The first medals of the Games will be won in the shooting competitions and the Russian team are training hard. 

Some are even prepared to miss the opening ceremony to get in more practice. Their event starts on Saturday, the first day of the Games proper.

Hopes are high that Russian marksmen an markswomen can win some medals.  It is one event where the weather conditions won’t be much of a hindrance.

Lyubov Galkina, who’s already won an Olympic medal, is looking forward to the competition. “We were here for a training session in spring. We liked it, and nothing much has changed since then. The only problem is the hot weather these days,” she said.