Breakthrough a mission impossible for Chinese cross-country skiers in Sochi, says former national champ

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-1-3 17:06:20

Chinese cross-country skiers have little chance to make top-eight finish at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to one of the country's top skiers.

"A breakthrough for China's cross-country ski team in Sochi seems a mission impossible," former national champion Li Geliang told reporters here during the Vasaloppet China ski festival.

Chinese cross-country skiers' best performance in the Winter Olympics was in Turin 2006 when they finished 13th in the women's 4x5km relay event.

Li attributed the plight of Chinese cross-country skiing to a decline in the reserves of talent over recent years as well as lack of natural resources and winter sport facilities.

"If we could recruit 20 kids to practice ski eight years ago, we only can enroll four or five now," Li said.

"And compared to those Nordic countries, the snowfall season is much shorter in China, so we don't have enough time to train," he added.

China's Ma Qinghua won a gold medal in the 2014 FIS Tour de Ski Changchun stage this week, but An Linbin, deputy secretary general of the Chinese Ski Association, played down the importance of Ma's triumph.

"It's not a sterling performance as most of the world's leading skiers didn't come to compete," said An.

"There is still a big gap between Chinese athletes and world-class skiers in both techniques and physical conditions. We need to work harder."

Posted in: Olympics, Winter Sport

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