China is home to some of the world’s best athletes. At the Beijing Olympics, the country topped the medals table, winning 100 medals in 25 sports, including 51 golds. And they are widely expected to do well at the 2012 London Games.
Each year, young talent – some just five years old – are singled out by scouts and placed in special state-run academies where they are groomed to become future champions. Some, like basketball star Yao Ming, eventually achieve success. Others are not so fortunate.