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Chi wants to learn from neighbours at Winter Asiad: Chef de mission

Sapporo (Japan), Feb 19 : Chi will take the Asian Winter Games as an opportunity to learn from neighbors and at the same time pursue best results, chef de mission of the Chinese delegation Gao Zhidan said after the flag raising ceremony.

“Our winter sports have been given a fresh start since we won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. We should learn from the experience of our neighbors at the Asiad,” Gao said after the ceremony on Saturday, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Japan and South Korea both have hosted Asian Games before, and South Korea will host Winter Olympic Games in 2018. They are much stronger than us in winter sports, and Kazakhstan also has some advantage in snow sports,” Gao said.

“Winter sports in Chi started late and we are still very weak, especially the snow sports. So we are here to learn. But at the same time we should seek good results,” he added.

Chi sent a 236-member delegation for the Asiad, which runs from February 19 to 26.

Chi will compete in all events at the Games, which will attract some 2,300 athletes from 31 Asian countries and regions.

Chinese short track speed skaters, who captured six gold medals at the last two Winter Olympics, are believed to be strong medal contenders in Japan.

World champion Fan Kexin, a gold hopeful in women’s 500m, expected highly of herself.

“I want a better finish than last time,” said Fan, who took a 500m silver and a relay gold at the last Asiad.

Wu Dajing, men’s 500m winner at the 2016 World Cup Shanghai, aims to win the event and also expects a relay gold.

“It is my first Asiad and I hope I can win the 500m title as well as the men’s relay,” he said. “It is also my first time coming to Sapporo, and the snow is so beautiful.”

According to Gao, a men’s short track speed skater will carry the Chinese flag at Sunday’s opening ceremony but he didn’t give a me.

Li Yan, head coach of the Chinese short track team, told Xinhua news agency that his wards face a challenge from old rivals South Korea and an improving Japan and Kazakhstan. South Korea took two short track golds at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. IANS

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Ankur Kalita