Chinese woman skier Wang Chunli finished 21st in the 15km
pursuit of cross country skiing, the best result for China at the
Turin Winter Olympics in Pragelato Plan on Sunday.
Out of 67 competitors, Wang came out 21st in 45 minutes and 9.6
seconds. Li Hongxue, Liu Yuanyuan and Xu Yinghui ranked 27th, 32nd
and 58th respectively.
Estonian Kristina Smigun took her first Olympic gold medal in
42:48.7, edging Czech Katerina Neumannova into second place in
42:50.6. Evgenia Medvedeva-Abruzova of Russia took the bronze medal
Li Xiaoming, head of the Chinese cross country skiing team, told
Xinhua that they set the goal of squeezing into the top 30 before
the Games and now it has been fulfilled.
Li noted that compared with Western countries, cross country
skiing came to China very late but the Chinese women team is strong
in Asia. Three Japanese skiers finished 30th, 35th and 38th while a
Korean skiier fell down to the 57th place.
The Chinese team has arrived in Italy one month prior to the
Games in order to accustom themselves to the conditions and climate
(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2006)