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Chinese short track speed skaters see Asiad ideal prep for Olympics
   2017-02-17 22:36:49    Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang Peng

Chinese short track speed skaters aim to boost their morale in an inevitable clash with South Koreans in the Asian Winter Games which opens on Sunday.

"We will try our best in the Asian Games, hoping to raise confidence through tough races," said Wu Dajing, men's 500-meter winner at the 2016 World Cup in Shanghai.

With the Winter Olympics less than one year away, the Asian Games is an ideal platform for Asia's top athletes to tune up for Pyeongchang 2018.

Chinese short track coach Li Yan, who led her students to six gold medals in the past two Olympics, noted that the Asian Games is more similar to the Olympics than the world championships.

"Athletes will feel the atmosphere of a comprehensive games here, which can hardly be felt in the world championships," said Li.

Chinese short track speed skaters arrived in Sapporo on Friday, along with the Chinese delegation chief Gao Zhidan, who is also vice sports minister and head of Chinese winter sports.

In addition to Wu Dajing, Han Tianyu, who won the men's 1,500 meters at the 2016 world championships, and women's 500 meters world champion Fan Kexin are also tipped as gold contenders.

Short track speed skating is one of few winter sports which have made China proud. Among 12 gold medals China has won in the Winter Olympics history, nine came from short track. The remaining three golds came from figure skating, aerials skiing and speed skating.

Huang Lixia, the Chinese winter sports official in charge of training for the national teams, noted China faces a strong challenge from South Korea in short track.

"South Korea is our arch rival in both the Olympics and Asian Games," she said. "As the Olympics is approaching, competition will become more fierce between two sides."

Eight short track golds are up for grabs in the three-day competition from Feb. 20-22.

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