NANNING http://www.carolinahurricanesteamstore. … ard-jersey , China, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) - China will begin their quest for their sixth consecutive world team gymnastics title on the first of two days of men's qualifications at Guangxi Sports Center Gymnasium, beginning Friday.

Unbeaten in world championships team competition since 2003, China are among the favorites to top the standings among the teams which are competing on Friday.

Lin Chaopan is expected to provide leadership and consistency to the team's performance, having placed ninth all-around and tied for gold on parallel bars at the 2013 world championships (no team competition took place at those championships).

Fast-rising Britain are positioned to pose the most serious challenge to China on Friday. Their line-up includes 2009 world all-around silver medalist Daniel Keatings, and two gymnasts who finished among the top seven in the all-around final at the 2013 world championships: Max Whitlock and Daniel Purvis.

Like Britain, Ukraine's recent momentum could place more pressure on China than before. Ukraine were fifth at the 2011 world championships, fourth at the London 2012 Olympic Games and third at the 2014 European championships.

Strong individual performances in Friday's competition are anticipated from 2013 world horizontal bar champion Epke Zonderland (Netherlands), two-time world floor exercise champion Diego Hypolito (Brazil), 2013 world rings champion Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti (Brazil) and 2014 Asian Games vault champion Shek Wai Hung (Hong Kong, China).

From qualifications, the top eight teams will advance to next Tuesday's team final; the top 24 all-around gymnasts (maximum two per national federation) will advance to next Thursday's all-around final; and the top eight gymnasts (maximum two per national federation) on each apparatus will advance to next weekend's respective apparatus finals.

TEHRAN, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Zobahan of Isfahan soccer team announced the signing of Lebanese right-back Ali Hamam, Tasnim news agency reported on Sunday.

The 28-year-old defender has penned a one-year contract with the Iranian soccer club under an unclosed term.

Ali Hamam started his career at Al-Nejmeh of Lebanon and scored eight goals for the team in 185 matches.

Hamam has also played 21 appearances for Lebanon national football team and scored two goals.

The 14th edition of the Iran Professional League is due to be kicked off on July 31.

BEIJING, June 29 (Xinhua) -- China started a national sports event on Monday for the employees of central government departments to boost their physical health.

"Sports and the people's health have long been the focus of the (Communist) Party and the government. The event is a key part of our drive to mobilize all Chinese people to exercise and unite government employees," said State Councilor Yang Jing during the opening ceremony.

This year's games, the fourth since 1992, will see more than 10,000 contestants competing in 13 categories, including cycling, tennis and ping-pong, from June to September.

The event is jointly held by the General Administration of Sport and the Work Committee of Central Government Departments under the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Yang expressed his hope that the games would help encourage more government employees to voluntarily boost their physical health.

Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli attended the opening ceremony and announced the start of the games.

THE Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) launched a formal investigation yesterday over suspicions of match-fixing in third division side Deportivo Eldense’s 12-0 defeat to Barcelona B on Saturday.

“This disciplinary body considers the initiation of disciplinary actions pertinent to discover the nature and scope of the events and, if necessary, the corresponding sanctions if justified,” the RFEF said.

Five members of the club, including coach Filippo di Pierro, two players, another member of the coaching staff and an Italian investor, who recently became Eldense’s major shareholder, have been arrested by police on suspicion of corruption.

Eldense player Cheikh Saad was the first to point the finger at some of his teammates and coach after their record-equalling defeat in Segunda Division B on Saturday. Saad told radio station Cadena Copa that certain players stood to make “huge sums” of money from bets placed on the match.

Club president David Aguilar then reported his suspicions to police and Spanish football authorities.

Di Pierro was appointed coach after an Italian investor took control of the club earlier this season.

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