China aims high ahead of 2018 Winter Games

Updated 2017-01-19 10:34:34 Xinhua

Chinese athletes will aim high and strive for good results at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, a Chinese sports official told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"The Pyeongchang Winter Games will be a great opportunity for Chinese athletes to accumulate experience and prepare for the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. Meanwhile, we will also do our utmost to get good results," said Liu Chengliang, deputy director of the Winter Sports Management Center of China's General Administration of Sport.

Chinese short track speed skaters, who have captured six gold medals at the last two winter Olympics under the guidance of star coach Li Yan, are set to be strong medal contenders again in Pyeongchang.

"We are working hard to prepare for next month's Asian Winter Games and the Olympic Games next year in Pyeongchang," said Li. "Our skaters are not in their top shape right now, but I believe we will be well prepared for the Olympics in one year's time."

Having claimed the first-ever speed skating Olympic gold medal for China in the women's 1,000 meter three years ago, Zhang Hong and teammate Yu Jing will lead the country's medal hopefuls in speed skating competitions in Pyeongchang.

"It's really hard to predict the results. What I can say is that we are confident in our ability to show our best form at the Olympic Games," said Zhang and Yu's coach Feng Qingbo.

Chinese athletes will also pursue medals in figure skating, freestyle skiing aerials, snowboarding halfpipe and curling.

Liu notes that China's representation in these sports has been strong in recent editions of the Games.

"Our athletes have been competitive in these events in the last few Games, they will do their best in Pyeongchang," said Liu.

China has launched new national team programs in snow sports including luge, bobsled, skeleton, ski jumping, and Nordic combined since the 2022 Winter Games were awarded jointly to Beijing and Zhangjiakou in July 2015.

Liu says he hopes to see more Chinese representation in the Pyeongchang and Beijing Winter Games.

"We have hired over 30 foreign coaches to help our national teams, especially the newly-founded teams. We have also sent a lot of teams to train abroad," Liu said.

"We are trying our best to help the athletes improve their abilities and performance. Hopefully we can have more athletes compete in more events at the next two Winter Games," he added.

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