LONDON, Aug 5: China will celebrate their best ever Olympic swimming performance on Sunday and hope an unprecedented badminton clean sweep can put them back on top of the London Games medals table.
After Sun Yang´s record-breaking heroics in the Aquatics Centre pool, badminton great Lin Dan takes on arch-rival Lee Chong Wei in a men´s final for the ages, while Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng will vie for the doubles crown.
Despite having two players sent home in a match-throwing scandal, China have already won the women´s singles, women´s doubles and mixed doubles as they eye all five badminton titles.
"The Chinese team is a great team. If it is challenged it is encouraged to turn it into something positive," said Zhao Yunlei, after adding women´s doubles to her mixed doubles title.
Even after Zhao and Tian Qing´s doubles title, and an upset women´s singles win for Li Xuerui, China head into day nine on 25 golds, one behind the United States in the medals table after the Americans enjoyed a successful campaign in the pool.
China could struggle to top the medals´ table for the second Games in a row, having won 51 golds in the 2008 Games they hosted in Beijing.
But the Chinese can also toast their best ever pool performance after Sun smashed his own 1500m world record to take their total to five gold medals.
Sun roared and smashed the water in delight, and then wept tears of joy, on Saturday after he lowered the mark for the second time in a year and claimed a second title after the 400m.
Jiao Liuyang had won the women´s 200m butterfly and Ye Shiwen, 16, took out both women´s individual medleys -- including a world record in the 400m. But Sun was angered when he was asked about doping suspicions levelled at Ye.
"People think China has so many gold medals because of doping and other substances, but I can tell you it is because of hard work," he snapped.
"It is all down to training and hard work that we have results. Chinese are not weaker than those in other countries... If you hear critics about athletes from your country, how would you feel?"
On Sunday, China will also look to capture their fifth diving title in the women´s 3m springboard, where veteran Wu Minxia is seeking a sixth career medal to draw level with her former partner, "Diving Queen" Guo Jingjing.
But Wu will have to shake off Italy´s Tania Cagnotto, who qualified second for the final raising the prospect that she could interrupt China´s march to all eight titles.
In Saturday´s action, India grabbed their first badminton medal when Saina Nehwal took bronze in the women´s singles, helped by an injury to her opponent Wang Xin.
"When she sat down I thought it was all part of getting tired, but it wasn´t. And it was very sad what happened," Nehwal said of Wang.
"But it´s really unbelievable to get a bronze because we have all worked so hard for this. I am very happy to have been able to do this for my country."
But India´s hopes for tennis glory went up in smoke when Leander Paes and Sania Mirza lost to top seeds Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka from Belarus in the mixed doubles quarter-finals.
Elsewhere, Chen Ding won China´s first ever men´s Olympic 20km walk title in a Games-record time of 1hr 18 min 46sec.