China warmed up for next year's Olympics in Beijing with a powerful performance at the World University Games, securing top spot yesterday in the medals table despite fielding a weakened team.
Strong results in diving, table tennis and shooting lifted China clear of Russia and Ukraine at the end of the 10-day event in Bangkok.
China kept many of its best athletes away from the University Games, but the depth of talent possessed by the global sporting powerhouse was evident as the team scooped medals across 11 sports ranging from athletics to volleyball.
Many countries used the Games to boost their competition experience ahead of next year's Olympics, with the USA sending a strong team of swimmers who dominated in the pool and collected 10 golds.
Chad La Tourette, Adam Ritter and Patrick Mellors emerged as future stars, while four-time Olympic gold-medalist Kaitlin Sandeno relished her return to top-level racing and may shine again next summer.
The athletics programme was less competitive without a single US entry, but British sprinter Simeon Williamson showed international potential when winning the 100m final in 10.22 seconds in wet conditions.
Among China's 32 gold medals were a sprinkling of their top performers.
After their walking victories, Chua Yafei and Jiang Qiuyan are on course for Beijing, while the nation's strong diving record looks likely to be maintained by Zhang Xinhua, Peng Bo and Li Ting, who all won springboard golds.
"We have performed as we expected," said a Chinese delegation official. "This is not our best team. For example we won nine gold medals in the shooting, but none of them are our top people."
"Judo [in which China won two women's golds] was the only sport we used for Olympic trials, and perhaps we have found some fighters there," the official said.
Ukraine earned its third-place in the medals table through success in gymnastics, fencing, shooting, swimming, men's soccer and on the track.
The overall medals table read China on 32 golds, with Russia and Ukraine equal on 28, but Russia coming second because they had more silvers.
The University Games concluded with Lithuania beating Serbia in the basketball final, and Turkey beating Canada in volleyball.