China aiming for best-ever Winter Olympic performance at Beijing 2022

China is aiming for its best ever Winter Olympic performance, secretary-general of China's Winter Olympic Delegation Ni Huizhong told Xinhua.

China is aiming for its best ever Winter Olympic performance, secretary-general of China's Winter Olympic Delegation Ni Huizhong told Xinhua.

"The delegation is eyeing the best Winter Games performance while ensuring no doping cases," said Ni on Sunday. "Our athletes will display their sportsmanship and also abide by all the pandemic control rules."

At PyeongChang 2018, China competed in 53 events of 12 disciplines and took home one gold, six silver and two bronze medals, placing 16th in the overall medal tally.

Beijing 2022 features 109 events of 15 disciplines across seven sports, while China will compete in 104 events. Around one-third of the 109 events were new to the Chinese athletes when Beijing was awarded the 2022 Games in 2015.

"Only China, Russia, the United States and the Czech Republic will compete in all 15 disciplines at Beijing 2022," said Ni, adding that China will debut in 35 Winter Games events.

There will be 176 athletes, of which 87 are female, out of a 387-member Chinese delegation for the Beijing Olympic Winter Games, the largest in the country's Winter Olympic history.

The athletes average 25.2 years old, with the youngest being 17. Altogether, 131 athletes will make their debuts at their home Olympics.

There are 20 athletes from nine of China's ethnic minority groups. Almost half of the 12-strong cross-country skiing team are ethnic minorities.

For Beijing 2022, China's main medal hopefuls lie with sports on ice like short track speed skating, figure skating and speed skating.

As for snow sports, China is pinning its medal hopes on wunderkind Gu Ailing, with the 18-year-old winning medals in freeski halfpipe, slopestyle and Big Air this season.

As Beijing embraced an open Olympics, China brought in 51 overseas coaches to prepare for the Games. 19 out of 23 teams have an overseas head coach each, such as biathlon legend Einar Bjorndalen and three-time world champion curler Peja Lindholm.

According to Ni, China has pledged to stick to a zero-tolerance policy toward doping at the Winter Olympics.

"Each team is equipped with an anti-doping commissioner, who belongs to an anti-doping professional group of 189 people," Ni said.

"A total of 260 doping risk screenings have been conducted since November 2019. Since March 2018, athletes of the winter sports national team have passed more than 8,000 doping tests, of which the largest individual test number reached 54," he added.

Ni also told Xinhua that the development of young athletes and professionals is a long-term task.

"The 176 athletes across the country are deemed as treasure and will lead more to participate in winter sports," said Ni, who referred to these athletes as "sparks."

"A large number of the NTOs (National Technical Officials) for the Beijing Winter Olympics have also participated in winter sports at an early stage," Ni noted, adding that they will play a crucial role in China's strive to forge a stronger team by the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan.

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