Thai skier well-prepared for Beijing 2022, ‘would love to try skiing in Xinjiang’
Published: Feb 02, 2022 09:51 PM Updated: Feb 02, 2022 09:47 PM
Mark Chanloung in Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Village
Mark Chanloung in Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Village

"I would love to try skiing in Xinjiang," Mark Chanloung, an athlete of cross-country skiing who is competing for Thailand in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, told the Global Times on Wednesday. The half-Thai, half-Italian skier said that it will be a great experience to go skiing in Chinas Xinjiang region and feel the differences between the Northwest Chinas region and Europe, where he usually trains.

"I'm happy that there is good condition in China, so it is easier to learn to improve yourself [in skiing]," said the athlete, noting that if there is any chance, he is happy to ski in the Xinjiang region, where its Altay Prefecture is recognized as the origin of human skiing activities for its good snow quality, long snow period and mild weather.

Chanloung is among the four athletes of the Thai delegation to participate in the 2022 Winter Games. Along with him is his younger sister Karen Chanloung, who will also compete in cross-country skiing and will carry the flag representing the Thai delegation at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on Friday.

The siblings also competed for Thailand in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

Chanloung will be the first Thai skier to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics, with his game in Men's 15km + 15km Skiathlon set on Sunday. He said he is confident to make a good start for the Thai team.

On January 29 he arrived at the Olympics Village, Chanloung rushed to the cross-country skiing area to try out his equipment. "Let's start our Olympic adventure," he said in a post on Instagram on the day.

Speaking about his stay in Beijing, he told the Global Times that "it's really good." He noted that moving into closed-loop has not affected his daily training and he understands the quarantine measures in the Village as "safety is more important."

He said that he had participated in competitions in North Chinas Tianjin and Hangzhou of East Chinas Zhejiang Province, before COVID-19 pandemic, but it was his first time to come to Beijing.

Growing up in Gressoney-La-Trinité, a town surrounded by snow-covered mountains in northwestern Italy, Chanloung started skiing as a child and was selected for the Italian national team.

Mark Chanloung and Karen Chanloung in Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Village
Mark Chanloung and Karen Chanloung in Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Village

In 2016, to help Thailand develop ice and snow sports, as well as for better personal development, Chanloung and his sister officially joined the Thai national team. He said when people think of snow sports, they don't usually think of Thailand. "It is very difficult for Thailand to develop some winter infrastructure, because there are no cold temperatures that would allow for winter sports," he said.

However, the level of snow and ice sports in Thailand has improved, he told the Global Times.

For the Beijing 2022 Olympics, the brother and sister have been preparing for four years. Chanloung expressed his expectation to get a good performance in the upcoming Games, adding that the Games will also provide an opportunity for skiers from all over the world to communicate with each other.

Chanloung noted that he met a team from China in New Zealand and trained with them for a period of time. "I am happy that more countries are joining the winter sports and I think China has a great opportunity because there are a lot of people joining the winter sports and a lot of facilities," he said.

Chanloung will embrace his 27th birthday at the Olympics village on February 9. He said he will probably only celebrate with his family as there will be events both before and after his birthday.