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China selects bobsleigh and skeleton athletes for Winter Olympics

Source:Xinhua15/05/2017 15:44

BEIJING, March 22 (Xinhua) -- China is seeking promising bobsledders and skeleton sliders from many other sports in order to make a debut in the events at Winter Olympic Games.

More than 100 athletes took part in the selection held at Beijing Sports University on Tuesday. Most of them are sprinters in track and field, weightlifters, wrestlers as well as basketball, rugby and soccer players from provincial teams and colleges. Some are even from national teams.

Manuel Machata, head coach of China's newly-built bobsleigh team, believed he had found some talents in the selection. As for how long could these athletes become competitive in top level international meetings, the former bobsledder from Germany said that he still need to judge through their training and competing.

"We can just try the best we can with our possibilities at the moment. Try to bring these athletes into the right direction," said the 32-year-old Machata, who piloted the German four-men bobsleigh team to a victory at 2011 World Championships at Konigssee, Germany.

China aims to compete in all seven sports and over 90 percent of 102 medal events at the 2022 Olympics. To reach that goal, China has set up national teams in the sports of bobsled, luge, skeleton, snowboard and ski jumping in recent years, raising the number of national winter sports teams to 22.

"In order to qualify for 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, our bobsledders and skeleton sliders need to collect as many points as they can and reach certain rankings in the upcoming North American Cup, Europe Cup and World Cup," said Hu Jie, director of luge, bobsleigh and skeleton department of the Winter Sports Management Center of China's General Administration of Sport.

"It's irrealistic to think about any good result in Pyeongchang Games, but we will definitely fight for a podium finish at Beijing Winter Games in 2022," said Hu.