Ski jumping, one of the most exciting skiing event of the Winter Olympic Games, has encountered crisis for survival in China's National Winter Games since it could hardly find enough teams to hold competition.
In the ongoing China's 11th National Games, only two competitions have been held in ski jumping event, K90m individual and team.
Three national athletes swept the medals in individual for Tonghua, a team from northeast China's Jilin Province. All the other participants of the individual game come from two teams Baicheng and Jilin, two cities also belong to Jilin Province.
In team competition, all the three competing teams have gained medals unless one could not complete the jumpings.
"If you pay more attention to the registration of athletes you could find that the athletes from Baicheng were registered in Tonghua before the Winter Games," Long Chunsheng, chief contest official of ski jumping said.
"There are only two cities in China from which we can find competitors for ski jumping event," Long said, "so some athletes must be divided from the two teams to form a third to meet a minimum need for official competition."
Sun Jianping, Li Chao and Wang Yang have been such kind of athletes who have given surprising performance in the event. Sun achieved the fourth place in individual competition.
China now has 14 professional athletes and about 20 young amateurs for ski jumping, one of the most spectacular and dangerous event of Winter Olympics.
Being short of enough training courses and investment have caused bottleneck for the event's development in China.
"Actually we just finished a training back from Europe," Tian Zhandong, gold medalist of individual event said, "we have no domestic training course in summer at all."
"Chinese athletes have no obvious disadvantages in physical condition and skills, we just need more attention and a course in summer." Piao Xuefeng, head coach of national team who has engaged in the event for more than 20 years, said.
"Many of the competitors are my boys and I can not expect lots of more athletes from other cities can take the game," Piao said, revealing that ski jumping has been nearly forgotten in most area of the country.
There is good news for ski jumpers in China. A ski jumping course for training and competition available in summer has been started construction at Beidahu skiing resort in Jilin Province.
"As far as I know they have finished half of the construction, maybe I can train the jumpers there this summer," Piao said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2008)