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Crossover athletes eye Beijing Winter Olympics

2021-02-03 20:08:00 Xinhuanet

LANZHOU, China, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The 2020-2021 China Cross-Country Skiing Championships, which drew around 200 professional skiers, featured many crossover athletes aiming to make a breakthrough at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on home soil.

15-year-old Lei Chengjie, who won four bronze medals in the championships as a crossover athlete from Gansu Winter Sports Management Center, had only received around 60 days of skiing training.

Lei, who used to be a judoka, won bronze in U16 Men's 3km Climbing individual start (Classic Technique), U16 Men's 3km Climbing individual start (Free Technique), U16 Comprehensive Ability of Men's 3km Climbing individual Start, and U16 Men's 15km Mass Start (Classic Technique) over the last two days.

"I really love winter sports, and I am eager to join the 2022 Winter Olympic Games," said Lei, adding that he was encouraged by his coaches to practise roller skating before skiing on the track.

The Gansu Winter Sports Management Center was founded in 2019. Over 20 members, who are crossover athletes, took part in the championships.

Team Manager Liu Pengfei said his team was one of the youngest in the championships, and athletes had tried their best to compete for honors.

"Our team is very young," said Liu, adding that all of his crossover athletes showed confidence in the championships.

Zhang Bei, the team manager of China's cross-country skiing training team, indicated that the national team, which has selected many athletes from other events, was established with 39 members in 2018.

"Crossover athletes can be tested in the championships," said Zhang, adding that competing in tournaments could improve the performance of all athletes.

Wen Ying, from southwest China's Guizhou Province, who was a marathon athlete, was selected into China's cross-country skiing training team in 2018.

"Crossover events have an elimination system," said Wen, adding that she had won several titles at home, and her performance had gradually improved.

"I wish I could make a breakthrough at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games," Wen said.

About 22 national teams in winter sports have had crossover training since 2018. "Crossover selection is a good way to help us explore more talents in winter sports," Zhang said.

"The championships are good preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games," said Yang Ning, the deputy director of China's General Administration of Sport, adding that the competition in Baiyin City is a new start for winter sports in China. Enditem

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