Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
China Breaks out in Snow Sports
Adjust font size:

From two to eight, it is a giant step forward. An unexpected strong performance in snow sports pushed the host China back to the top of the Winter Asian Games.

Four years ago in Aomori, Japan, China managed only two golds, both from biathlon, at the fifth Winter Asiad, where it finished third behind Japan and South Korea with nine golds.

As the Games moved to Changchun, northeast China, in 2007, the host skiers broke out in snow sports, sweeping eight titles out of 21 on offer to lay a solid foundation for their domination at the overall medal table.

"We have made historic breakthrough in snow sports at this Asian Winter Games," said Wang Yitao, secretary general of the Chinese Sports Delegation.

"Japan and Kazakhstan are traditional powerhouses in snow sports, we are trying out best to catch up," Wang added.

Biathletes played a big role in the golden harvest of the host, winning five titles out of seven up for grabs. Following a clean sweep of all the four women's event, China collected its first biathlon gold for men at Winter Asiad, triumphing in the 4X7.5km relay.

"I am happy for the whole team," said German Klaus Siebert, who took the helm of the Chinese biathlon team half a year ago." Chinese women biathletes are strong in Asia, we are here to win."

The gain of two golds from the freestyle skiing aerials was just within expectation. Both events were not included in the last Games, but added by the host.

"We have no opponent in Asia for the women's event," said Chinese team leader Rao Gang. "For the men's event, only a couple of Japanese athletes can compete with us."

China also enjoyed a sweet victory in the women's cross-country sprint race, which is of special meaning for the development of the sport in China.

"It is the first cross-country gold medal of China in any individual event at Winter Asiad," said the titlist Wang Chunli. "It is a great confidence boost for us."

"Kazakhstan is very strong in this sport in Asia, but we are getting closer and closer," said China's Swedish head coach Erik Ronnestrand.

"If Wang continues to work hard and train in my way, she will be hopeful to win a medal at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010," Ronnestrand added.

Despite the rush of gold medals, China still has a long way to go to become a powerhouse in snow sports, even at the Asian stage.

"Our development in snow sports is unbalanced," said Wang Yitao. "For example, we are not so good in Alpine skiing, one of the most popular winter sports in the world."

The best result of Chinese Alpine skiers at this Winter Asiad was a fourth, achieved by Miao Liyan in the women's slalom and giant slalom.

Even in biathlon, the sport in which China showed dominance in Asia, Chinese athletes have a lot to improve to enhance their medal hopes at Winter Olympics.

"We have to improve on stability (shooting) and the athletes have to focus on one sport (to have good performance at international stage) in order to do well at international level. International competitions are very different from the Winter Asiad," said Klaus Siebert.

(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Related Stories
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback
Copyright © All Rights Reserved     E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号