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Feature: Gold medalist Man Dandan's 16 years on snow

(Xinhua)    10:43, February 25, 2017

Man Dandan (Photo/Xinhua)

SAPPORO, Japan, Feb. 24 -- "The past 16 years passed so fast. It was like a dream. I have never thought that I would have come this far," said Man Dandan, the gold medalist at the eighth Winter Asiad, when looking back upon her life as a cross-country skier.

Man concluded her games at the Winter Asiad here on Friday. In the 4x5km women's relay, she finished the first leg, helping China getting a silver in the event.

Earlier in the week, she claimed the women's 1.4km individual sprint classical, awarding China its first gold at the Games.

"I'm a contest-type athlete," she said, adding that she always enjoys competition and gets excited when there are a lot of spectators. "I'm the kind of athletes who do well in games, not so well in training," she said.

Man started her skiing life at the age of 11. At first, she did not know how to ski. "I tumbled and felt anxious. I hoped that I could ski smoothly and beautifully like those elder kids," she said.

To achieve this goal, she practiced hard and made progress fast. From 2006, she began to make her appearances in national and international competitions.

She placed eighth in the World Cup cross-country skiing in 2007, and won the title at the National Winter Games in 2008. She also took part in three Winter Olympics.

"Step by step, I went on. Then I found that I could not stop," she said.

While her career went well, her biggest problem came from her allergy to pollen. "It was especially hard in summer, I had to train outdoors and my allergy made me feel terrible," she said.

But she kept training hard, as she knew that she still had a lot to do to catch up with the advanced level in the world.

China's cross-country skiing still lags behind in the world, she said, noting that the sport is a relatively new one in China and needs to take its time.

But she is also confident about the sport's future in China. "Winter sports such as cross-country skiing are getting a lot of attention now in China, especially after Beijing won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics," she said.

As for the 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics, Man said that she had not given them many thoughts, but would do her best if her team needs her.

"In competitive sports, the only way to achieve something is to train hard and to work one's way up," she said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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