World gymnastics champions will have an opportunity in the coming days to test the venue for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as the Gymnastics International Invitational Tournament will be held from today until next Monday at the National Indoor Stadium, the home of the gymnastics competitions for the Beijing Games.
China's Cheng Fei, a triple gold medalist in vault, floor exercise and women's team at the 2006 World Championships, will lead a young host team. Chellsie Memmel, the 2005 world all-around champion, will lead the visiting US women's team.
Fabian Hambuechen from Germany, the 2006 men's vault world champion, is also expected to shine.
The test event for the Beijing Games will attract 104 athletes from 21 countries and regions to compete in 12 events, including men's team, women's all-around and 10 individual events.
China's women's team will also include 2006 world-champion team member Zhou Zhuoru, Pang Panpan and 2007 world runner-up team member Jiang Yuyuan. The men's team will feature a group of untested youngsters.
"We have sent strong athletes from the women's team, some of whom are among the top in China and will very likely be included on the Olympic team," said Lu Shanzhen, head coach for China's national women's team. "Since most of them are still young, they lack experience in international competitions, so we hope they could adapt to the venue and Olympic competition program through this test event."
Lu said the veteran Cheng, who was just named the team's captain, still needs to improve her movements and get herself into shape for the Olympics.
The Trampoline Invitational Tournament will also be held at the venue at the same time as the gymnastics tournament.
Running from November 30 to December 3, the trampoline tournament will attract 32 athletes from 13 teams.
The Chinese team includes Huang Shanshan, the bronze medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and Ye Shuai, the 2007 Canada World Championships gold medalist.