Young talent prevails in China's Sochi journey

Updated: 2014-02-24 10:54 (Xinhua/chinadaily.com.cn)

Young talent prevails in China's Sochi journey

Zhang Hong of China competes in the women's 1,000 meters speed skating event during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb 13, 2014. Zhang wins China's first ever gold in Olympic speed skating. [Photo/Agencies]

Young talent prevails in China's Sochi journey
SOCHI - Chinese Olympic debutants put on a memorable show at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, taking most of the credit for keeping the country in the upper-middle of the medals table.

When the Sochi Games drew to close on Sunday, China placed 12th with three gold, four silver and two bronze. A total of 26 countries made it to the medals table as host Russia stood on top with 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze. Although China's standing dropped from seventh in Vancouver to 12th this time, deputy chief of mission Xiao Tiao was happy to see young talent grow.

The very first speed skating gold for China in all the 10 Winter Olympics they took part in, came from Zhang Hong, a 25-year-old Harbin native who basically remained unknown to most Chinese until her 1,000m triumph on Feb 13.

"Speed skating is as important in the winter games as athletics in the summer games, so Zhang Hong's gold is a huge breakthrough in China's ice and snow sport history," said Xiao after her victory.

The short track speed skating team did not disappoint either. As team captain and four-time Olympic champion Wang Meng out with an ankle fracture, her younger teammates did not let their supporters wonder too long before Li Jianrou seized the women's 500m title on Feb 13. Five-time world champion Fan Kexin added a 1,000m silver five days later.

"Luck was on our side in Vancouver," said Xiao on Saturday. Wang Meng won the 500m, 1,000m and led the team to take 3,000m victory four years ago while Zhou Yang captured the 1,500m gold.

"I am pleased with the team in Sochi. Wang's absence affected our medal prospect but the rest of the team did a good job. Silver and bronze medals from the men's side matters a lot," he added.

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