China expects strong performance in speed skating at Asian Winter Games

Updated 2017-02-14 15:56:37 Xinhua

The Chinese short track speed skating team is one of the strongest in the world, and it is expected to achieve good results in the Asian Winter Games to be held in Sapporo, Japan.

Despite the high hopes for a strong performance, Li Yan, head coach of the team, is low key about expectations.

"Our best athletes will compete in the Asian Winter Games and they will try their best," said Li.

China has traditionally been strong in short track speed skating, but it has to meet the challenge from old rivals South Korea and an improving Japan and Kazakhstan.

"Our biggest rival will be South Korea," Li said. "The South Korean girls are very strong, especially in 1,000m, 1,500m and relay."

The most hopeful event for China is the women's 500m. World champion Fan Kexin will try to prove herself at this edition of the Asian Winter Games, after failing to do so at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

"Fan was competitive for the whole season but I will not say she has any advantage compared to her opponents, " said Li.

"The Asian Winter Games is different from Olympic Games, but it won't be easy," Li said. "Our aim is to find our problems and know ourselves better."

China won two gold medals in short track speed skating at the Sochi Games. One was from the women's 500m, and the other was the women's 1,500m. South Korea also took two golds as they won the women's 1,000m and 3,000m relay.

It is also expected the men's team can achieve some good results, as Han Tianyu won the men's 1,500m at the 2016 World Championships, which was China's first gold in the event at Worlds, and Wu Dajing won the men's 500m at the 2016 World Cup in Shanghai. China also won the men's relay at the Shanghai World Cup.

"I really have much anticipation for the Asian Winter Games," said Wu Dajing. "Because it is my first, and I think the good results will encourage me to do better in preparing for the 2018 Olympic Games."

The Chinese short track speed skating team will leave for Japan on Feb. 17.

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