Japan, S. Korea still far to reach for China in winter sports

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/2/26 15:08:45

Gao Zhidan, Chef de Mission of the Chinese delegation for the 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, said on Sunday that Japan and South Korea are still far to reach for China in winter sports.

"We see big gap between us and those who are strong in winter sports at the Asian Winter Games," said Gao. "We are here to learn from our neighbors. Compared with 20 years ago, we did make some progress. But compared with Japan and South Korea, we developed slowly."

The 8th Asian Winter Games is coming to an end later on the day. Japan and South Korea lead the medal table, while China ranks third with 12 golds. Japan dominated most snow sports, while South Korea were strong in speed skating and short track speed skating.

South Korea upset China, which had targetted to finish second in the tally following host Japan.

"The progress of Japan and South Korea in winter sports is beyond my expectation," said Gao. "South Korea is the host country of 2018 Winter Olympic Games. I think they are better prepared than us at the Asiad."

China had some glowing moments here. Both the men's and the women's curling teams claimed the gold medals. The short track speed skaters collected three titles. Figure skating pair Yu Xiaoyu/Zhang Hao dominated the competition, and snowboarder Liu Jiayu and Zhang Yiwei also won the women's and men's halfpipe titles respectively.

"Some of our athletes have good performances here, like the curling team, the short track speed skaters, the snowboarders and so on, but some others should have better results, the speed skating in particular," said Ren Hongguo, the secretary general of the Chinese delegation.

"I think there may be some problem in the training. But there are also possibilities that they are in the pre-Olympic term and they will adjust to the best form at the Pyeongchang Games," Ren said.

China only claimed one speed skating gold through Gao Tingyu in the men's 500m. Olympic women's 1,000m champion Zhang Hong settled for two bronze medals.

"Zhang won China's first ever speed skating gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Games, and she should have better results at the Asian Games," Ren added.

In snow sports, according to Gao, China has top class athletes in halfpipe, but in the Olympic traditional sports like cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, and biathlon, few progress can be seen.

"We only won one gold medal in the cross-country skiing," Gao said. "We must put more effort to develop those traditional sports."

Posted in: WINTER SPORT

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