Beijing: China's sports officials fear that their country would be outclassed by the United States of America as far as winning the number of gold medals at the London Olympics is concerned.

Sports officials here downplayed expectations of Team China's performance at the Games as worries mounted among fans that the country may be not be able to repeat its record medal haul in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

China is fielding a team of 396 athletes, including 29 gold medallists from the Beijing Games.

The 171 men and 225 women are to compete in 212 disciplines in 23 sports.

"It won't be a Beijing do-over for us. We face unprecedented difficulties in catching up with the gold haul of Beijing without home advantage," Xiao Tian, deputy Chef-de- Mission of the Chinese Olympic delegation, said.

China topped the gold medal tally with 51 four years ago at home, and many are wondering whether its athletes would be able to hold off the United States, which finished with 36 gold in Beijing.

Xiao was cautious, saying that the US outpaces China in many Olympic sports, state-run 'Global Times' daily reported on Friday.

His remarks were consistent with Duan Shijie, another deputy Chef-de-Mission of the Chinese Olympic delegation.

"The US will be the top country, and we may even have difficulty gaining the second place," Duan said, after arriving in London on Tuesday, the daily reported.


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