Chinese women have participated in Olympic judo since it became a full-fledged medal sport with the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. The country's judoka have proceeded to earn a total of 18 medals, including an impressive eight golds.
Four years ago at home in Beijing, China captured four women's judo medals, with three of them gold. Two of their three Olympic champions-Yang Xiuli and Tong Wen-will look for encore gold-medal performances in London.
The following list includes brief profiles of all seven Chinese women scheduled to compete on the tatami in London, as well as the favorites in each weight class:
EXTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT: Wu Shugen will represent China at 48 kilograms. She has put together a solid career so far at age 24, and will be looking for a breakthrough performance resulting in a medal in London. Japan's Tomoko Fukumi and Sarah Menezes of Brazil are probably the cream of the crop at this weight.
HALF-LIGHTWEIGHT: He Hongmei is China's entrant at 52 kilograms. Her career thus far has been rather undistinguished at the international level. Four years ago at the Beijing Games, one of China's star judoka, Xian Dongmei, capped off a brilliant career with her second consecutive Olympic gold in the Half-Lightweight class.
LIGHTWEIGHT: Wang Hui will represent China at 57 kilograms as a first-time Olympian. Rafaela Silva of Brazil and Japan's Kaori Matsumoto are better bets for medals, however.
HALF-MIDDLEWEIGHT: Xu Lili is a steadily improving performer for China, but will face stiff competition in a deep, talented field at 63 kilograms. Gevrise Emane of France and top rival Yoshie Ueno of Japan are expected to be the gold-medal favorites in this weight class.
MIDDLEWEIGHT: Chen Fei is a young standout for China at 70 kilograms, and probably has a reasonable shot at a medal-podium finish. France's Lucie Decosse should be the overwhelming favorite for gold in the Middleweight class, though.
HALF-HEAVYWEIGHT: Yang Xiuli will look to repeat her gold-medal performance from 2008 in London. She will face some formidable foes, however, in France's Audrey Tcheumeo and Akari Ogata of Japan.
HEAVYWEIGHT: Tong Wen will also look for her second consecutive Olympic gold in London. But her presence on the tatami there will undoubtedly spark controversy after a positive doping test in 2010. It was later overturned on a technicality.
Patrick Hattman covers the Olympics for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He lived in Japan for more than a decade and enjoys learning about the sport of judo.
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