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Germany nominates first 44 athletes for Rio Olympics

Europe
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Frankfurt (dpa) - The first 44 German athletes going to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro later this year were confirmed Tuesday with around 400 more expected to be named in the coming weeks.

Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte, who won the cycling team sprint gold at London 2012, were headline names nominated among a 16-strong cycle squad. Seven badminton players, four fencers, 10 sailors, six in the athletics group and one gymnast were also selected.

"Through the nomination of the first 44 athletes, the intense preparation phase for Rio has begun," said Dirk Schimmelpfennig, head of performance sport at the German Olympic Sports Committee (DOSB).

Further names for the August 5-21 Games will be confirmed on June 28 and July 12 with a final competing party of around 450 expected.

The German team has been set a target of 44 medals in Rio to match the number won in London when it returned home with 11 gold, 19 silver and 14 bronze.

"We are confident that many athletes can achieve their top form in August and can reach their best," Schimmelpfennig said.

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