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China's figure skating pair confident for 2022

(China Daily)    10:00, February 16, 2018

(From left to right) Silver medalists Han Cong and Sui Wenjing of China, gold medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/chinadaily.com.cn]

Despite finishing their Olympic debut with a silver medal in disappointment, China's world champion figure skating pair Sui Wenjing and Han Cong remain upbeat, envisioning home turf glory at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

Sui and Han, winner of the 2017 world championship in Finland, finished second with a total of 235.47 points, combined with scores from the short program and free skate in figure skating pairs at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Thursday, delivering China a second silver medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Boasting flawless routine execution, German pair Aljona Savchenkoa and Bruno Massot, who ranked fourth with 76.59 points in the previous short program, scored a world-record 159.31 points in the free skate to edge out the Chinese pair with a thin edge of 0.4 points in combined score.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada won the bronze medal with 230.15 points.

Entering the free skate session as favorites for their perfect short-program routine, the pressure of winning their home audience a golden Spring Festival gift on the eve of Chinese Lunar New Year caught the Chinese pair by surprise.

Skating off their routine to the classic opera Turandot, Han under-rotated a double toeloop in a planned combination before Sui stumbled in her landing of a side-by-side triple jump.

Sui and Han, who competed at the Olympics for the first time in Pyeongchang, said they enjoyed the whole experience — including the disappointing results — as a learning curve for a stronger comeback at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

"It's really disappointing not being able to snatch the gold with such a small margin behind the winner," Sui, 23, told media in the mixed zone after the final.

"However, we consider it motivation because this is our first Olympic Games, so we feel like we are already satisfied with our performance.

"Hopefully, with four years ahead to improve our performance and to gain more big-time experience, we will try to finish on top of the podium in Beijing in 2022."

Han Cong and Sui Wenjing of China compete. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/chinadaily.com.cn]

Since China's first world championship title, won by the retired pair of Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo in 2002, figure skating pairs have been the much-anticipated event for Chinese fans at every Winter Olympics.

Boasting a difficult yet elegant routine to the same music Turandot, Shen and Zhao delivered home the country's first figure skating gold medal in pairs at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics having won multiple world titles.

Zhao took over the team in June 2017 as the head coach while Shen was elected chairwoman of the Chinese Figure Skating Association last month.

Han said the regret in Pyeongchang will serve an extra boost for him and Sui to work harder in every aspect of their routine in the build-up to Beijing 2022.

"I still believe we have more room to improve as we are not yet reaching our peak form. To grow as mature and consistent as our coach when they competed in 2010, we have to learn more from the veteran opponents around the world and figure out how we could improve further," said the 26-year-old Han.

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

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