OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Best of the rest: Olympic Countdown

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The Independent Online
BASEBALL: While their professional players are allowed to compete in the basketball tournament, the Americans' major league players are not eligible in Barcelona. The Cubans are reckoned to have the best amateur team in the world, while Japan will also mount a strong challenge to the Americans. No British team.

DIVING: With the great American, Greg Louganis, departed from the scene, the Chinese are expected to confirm their status as the world's strongest diving nation. The Chinese team is led by 13-year-old Fu Mingxia and 16-year-old Sun Shuwei, the women's and men's platform world champions. Britain's leading diver in Barcelona is Robert Morgan, but the competition will be tough.

British team: H Allen, N Bishop, R Morgan, L Ward.

HANDBALL: A cross between basketball and football, with players using their hands to shoot into a football-like goal. In the absence of Yugoslavia, the Unified Team are favoured for the men's title last won by their Soviet Union, although Sweden won the last world championship. The Koreans won the women's event in Seoul and are fancied to succeed again. No British team.

SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING: Despite the ridicule after its introduction as a medal sport, synchronised swimming has become an accepted part of the Olympic programme. Nicola Shearn of Britain finished sixth in the solo event in Seoul. The United States, Canada and Japan are expected to be the main medal challengers.

British team: N Haynes, K Shacklock, L Vakil.

VOLLEYBALL: The former Soviet Union (European champions), Italy (world champions) and the United States (Olympic champions) are likely to be the main challengers in the men's tournament, although the south Americans may also do well; Cuba were Italy's victims in the world championship final two years ago. The women's competition is expected to be more clear-cut, with the Unified Team fancied to continue successfully where the Soviet Union left off and add the Olympic crown to add to their world and European titles. No British team.

WATER POLO: Yugoslavia had been hoping for a third consecutive gold medal, but their team have been banned because of UN sanctions. In their absence, victory is likely to go to the United States, winners of last year's World Cup. No British team.

DEMONSTRATION SPORTS: Taekwondo, a form of unarmed combat in which competitors can make jumps to score with their feet, was also a demonstration sport in Seoul. Barcelona will also feature pelota, a squash-type game from the Basque country in which a ball is struck against a wall with curved bats, and roller hockey.

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