As the host nation of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China hopes to reap more than five gold medals and to compete in all the 109 events, a winter sports expert told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
Zhu Chengyi, a former official from China's General Administration of Sport, acknowledged that neither objective would be easily achieved, and that arduous preparation would be required in order to meet those goals.
China's best Winter Olympics medal count came in Vancouver in 2010, with five golds, two silvers and four bronzes, but it only bagged one gold, six silvers and two bronzes in PyeongChang last year.
"In order to surpass the five-gold mark, we have to make breakthroughs in other events, and not rely solely on our traditional strongholds," said Zhu. "For the 2022 Games, we are hopeful of medaling in short track, figure skating, skiing aerials, halfpipe and speed skating."
Chinese athletes had a disappointing 2018-19 season, with the country's only gold medal coming courtesy Sui Wenjing and Han Cong in the pairs competition at the World Figure Skating Championships.
China's short track skaters missed the top of the podium, collecting only three silvers and one bronze at the World Short Track Championships, while arch rival South Korea scooped seven of the 10 golds on offer.
Cai Xuetong got a silver at the Snowboarding World Championships and Xue Mengtao only settled for a bronze medal in the freestyle skiing aerials.
In the Curling World Championships, neither Chinese men nor women made it to the last four.
"However, we have other medal hopefuls, as the Beijing Winter Games introduces the new events of short track mixed relay and freestyle skiing mixed team aerials," said Zhu.
As for competing in all 109 events, "We're quite sure of qualifying for some 60 events, but have to make greater efforts in order to reach the Olympic qualifying standards in the other 50 events," said Zhu.
With less than three years left until Beijing 2022, China is standing at a critical juncture. "In order to meet our goals, we must work together and ensure our preparation is thorough," Zhu concluded.
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