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Chinese Skiers Have Barely Good Results: Coach
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Finishing 16th out of 17 teams, the Chinese skiers completed the women's 4x5km relay race at the Turin Winter Olympics in Turin on Saturday.

"They have tried their best but the result is there," head coach Per-Erik Ronnestrand said.

After the first three legs, the Chinese team still ranked 13th but then dropped to 16th place.

"I took a chance on Song Bo. She is normally a sprinter. I thought she might make a good race but she was very tired in the last two kilometers," the coach said.

"Normally, we should finish 12th or 13th place," he added.

Among the four members, Song skied the last leg.

However, Ronnestrand was confident about the Chinese skiers' prospects.

"In all races they are improving. I see that in this Olympics they have learned a lot. The Chinese team is very young while some other teams have very old skiers. It's also possible for China (to win an Olympic medal) if they are starting to go out, make a lot of competitions, (their) training is perfect, then after two or three years China will have top skiers also."

On the medal winners, Ronnestrand said: "Russia has quite good cross country skiers since it is one of the most important sports in Russia, and Russia has had good skiers for 40 years. They are always up on the top ten. Germany has been a very strong country now for seven or eight years. For Italy, it's very important (to win a medal) for them. They have four quite good skiers but they are very old, so maybe next year three of them will finish with skiing."

Norway, regarded by many as a dominant nation in the sport, settled for a fifth place. It has yet won a gold in the sport, with three silvers and one bronze in line.

On Norway's performance, Ronnestrand said: "They missed a little bit waxing, some skiers catch cold or have stomach problems. Any little problem in cross country can do anything. The body must be 100 percent to make a good race."

Norway had expected to win eight gold medals in cross country.

"It's the same for Germany team last year in the World Championships as it thought they could take 10 gold medals but they only took two before home fans," he said. 
(Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2006)

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