US-born ice skater joins China training program

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/25 21:58:40

A US-born figure skater has enrolled in the training program of China's figure skating team in a bid to compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

Beverly Zhu, who was born in Los Angeles, will train together with five Chinese ice dancers from Sunday to the end of December in three venues - two in the US and one in Beijing - for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, Xinhua News Agency reported.

In January, the rising 16-year-old star was crowned the novice ladies national champion at the 2018 US Figure Skating Championships, reported.

Experts reached by the Global Times said an athlete has to be a Chinese citizen before they could join the national training team.

Luo Le, an expert in sports sociology at Beijing Sport University, told the Global Times it is rare to see an athlete born in other countries join in China's national team, although naturalizing Chinese athletes has been widely discussed in football and basketball teams.

Chen Lu, the main coach of the training program of China's figure skating team, told The Beijing News on Saturday that "Zhu is really nice and also a champion in novice ladies. She has a good potential."

Zhu's father, Zhu Songchun, is a China-born computer expert and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Called "morning road," the program is open to 10 other new recruits on top of the six. "There are other athletes in the process of signing a contract. The list cannot be disclosed now," Chen said.

The program will mainly recruit top Chinese athletes from abroad and get trained overseas, the Beijing News quoted Chen as saying. The training team will also be joined by five foreign coaches.

To compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, China has also formed two other national figure skating teams led by Zhao Hongbo, Pang Qing and Tong Jian. The three national teams will compete with each other and eventually combine as one, the Beijing News cited Tong as saying.

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