China's speed skaters gear up for home Winter Olympics

(Xinhua) 08:38, December 31, 2021

BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- With the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games about a month away, China's best speed skaters have been ready to put on a show in front of a home audience.

The Chinese speed skating team returned home from a successful World Cup season, with national record broken four times and multiple skaters achieving personal best times. The fruitful journey also secured China pre-allocated quotas in 12 of the 14 events in Beijing 2022's competition program.

"We can say that we have completed the target we set beforehand," said head coach Li Yan, who was confident of a satisfying result at the Olympic Winter Games, in an online interview on Thursday.

Ning Zhongyan was the most decorated Chinese skater from the World Cup series, claiming two golds and two silvers from men's 1,000m and 1,500m races.

"I will give it all and try to present the best of myself," Ning said of his goal at the Olympics.

The 22-year-old was also part of the team sprint roster at the World Cup and gave up the chance to retain his World Cup leading position in 1,500m to win a mass start quota for China in the last stop in Calgary, Canada.

Asked about which event will be his main focus in Beijing, Ning disclosed that he would concentrate on "having a good run in the first event," the men's 1,500m, which is also his specialty, so as to "set a fine tune for the following ones."

Apart from Ning, Gao Tingyu will also be a medal hopeful for China in the men's 500m with his sub-34 seconds results in the World Cup series.

Although coming home with one gold and one silver, the PyeongChang bronze medalist was humble about his performance, saying: "I still need to improve on every technique and skill."

Speaking of the home Winter Olympics which he called "a once-in-a-century chance," Gao admitted this gave him heavy pressure, but he would try "turning it into motivation."

On the women's side, Chinese skaters will compete in every individual event and its competitive team sprint roster is hopeful of a podium finish.

"We have achieved certain progress and the athletes are more confident after the World Cups. I believe we will have good results at the Winter Olympics," said coach Zhang Zhongqi. 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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