Jilin dominates short track events
HK ice hockey team impresses spectators with 4-1 win
Published: Feb 18, 2024 10:37 PM
Photo: Li Hang/GT

Athletes compete at the men's 500-meter competition on Sunday in Hulunbuir, North China's Autonomous Region.Photo: Li Hang/GT

Sunday marked the conclusion of the short track speed skating events at the 14th National Winter Games. Jilin Province emerged as the biggest winner, securing five gold medals out of a total of nine in the events. 

Meanwhile, in the ice hockey arena, the youth men's ice hockey group match saw the Hong Kong team defeat Tianjin with a score of 4-1. The head of the Hong Kong delegation told the Global Times that the team's performance was "commendable," and that he expected the team would achieve even better results in the upcoming matches.

As one of the most popular winter sports events, the speed skating competition drew a full house at the venue, with high audience engagement. Zhu, 52, an audience member from Shanghai, watched the competitions on both Saturday and Sunday.  

He told the Global Times that Sunday's competition showcased a gathering of top athletes, and he personally favored Sun Long and Lin Xiaojun.

Among Jilin's five gold medals, three were won by the province's athlete Sun Long in the men's 500 meters, 1,000 meters, and 1,500 meters. His strong contestants included Olympic champions Wu Dajing, Lin Xiaojun, Ren Ziwei, Liu Shaolin and Liu Shaoang.

The remaining two gold medals were earned in the men's 5,000-meter relay and women's 500-meter relay events.

In the men's 5,000-meter relay, Team Jilin consisted of Sun, Han Tianyu, Jia Haidong, Ren Haobo, and Wu Dajing, while in the 500-meter finals for women on Saturday, Jilin's Zhang Chutong clinched the title with a time of 43.011 seconds.

Speaking about the feeling of winning the 500-meter championship on Saturday, Sun said that he hopes to compete on the same stage as his predecessors. 

"What I hope for is to gain experience, as my ultimate goal is to bring glory to the country in the upcoming international competitions, which is the most important thing," he said.

When asked about his tactics for the 500-meter race, he mentioned that he didn't actually consider what role he would play before the race because all five athletes in the final were national team members. In simple terms, it's about "keeping calm and just getting it done."

On Friday, in the men's 1,500-meter final, Sun adopted the "Rabbit Tactic" approach, outpacing renowned competitors such as Lin Xiaojun and Liu Shaoang to clinch the gold medal.

In addition to Jilin's five gold medals, the remaining four gold medals in short-track speed skating were respectively won by the teams of Liaoning, Heilongjiang, and Shandong provinces.

During Sunday's games, Zhao Yuanwei from Liaoning Province and Team Heilongjiang respectively clinched women's 1,000-meter and 3,000-meter relays.

In the women's 1,500-meter final on Friday, Zang Yize, representing Team Heilongjiang, surged ahead in the final stretch, surpassing Jilin's top contender Zhang Chutong to claim the gold medal.

Looking ahead to the 2026 Winter Olympics, also known as Milano-Cortina 2026, Zang noted, "We have made significant changes this year, including changing our team. There have been considerable adjustments in various aspects such as techniques."

She added that with two years remaining until the 2026 Winter Olympics, she hopes to demonstrate her training level on the competition stage, perhaps even exceed it.

In the 2,000-meter mixed team relay on Friday, Team Shandong clinched the gold medal. 

In the boys' ice hockey (under 18) group match held on Sunday, the Hong Kong team defeated the Tianjin team with a score of 4-1, marking an opening triumph.

"I think their performance was very good," Lau Chun,  head of the Hong Kong delegation, told the Global Times, praising the performance of the young team. "Today, the performance of the Hong Kong team was commendable. I hope that they can achieve even better results and strive for higher rankings in the next competition," Lau added.

Lau mentioned that even though Hong Kong doesn't experience snow and lacks ideal ice and snow environments for winter sports, they have still made significant progress. He hopes that the Hong Kong team's participation in the Games will promote ice and snow sports in the special administrative region.

"We hope that by supporting the Hong Kong team, more people will become acquainted with ice and snow sports. Then our younger generation can develop more interest in these sports," Lau noted, adding "If the popularity increases, we can also have the conditions to provide better facilities." 

Fifteen-year-old Tsan Lam Wang is No.6 member of the team. According to Wang, he joined the team in 2023 and has been playing ice hockey since the age of 5. 

For him, ice hockey is a passionate and vigorous sport. Wang told reporters that the team's unity and cooperation played a vital part in the team's victory. 

"My goal is to reach the top four," Wang told reporters when speaking of the team's ambitions in the following games.

The Hong Kong team will compete against the Jilin team on Tuesday. The senior teams' competitions at the National Winter Games were already held in the summer of 2023.