SAPPORO, Japan, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese delegation held its flag-raising ceremony at the Sapporo Prince Hotel International Convention Center Pamir here on Saturday for the eighth Asian Winter Games (AWG).
Fumio Takei, Sports Affairs Bureau Director of the organizing committee for the Games, welcomed the Chinese delegation on behalf of the organizers.
"I wish the athletes to have a good performance in the Games," he said, adding that he also hopes to meet the athletes again at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Gao Zhidan, head of the Chinese delegation, said after the ceremony that Chinese athletes will spare no efforts to deliver their best performances at the games.
Meanwhile, China will also take the Games as an opportunity to learn from neighbors and to make progress in some events, he said.
"We are facing a rare historical opportunity for development of winter sports since Beijing's successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics...We should make our due efforts and make our contributions," he said.
Gao also said a men's short-track speed skater will carry the Chinese flag at Sunday's opening ceremony but stopped short of naming him.
Short track is one of few winter sports which have made China proud. Among the 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.
The eighth AWG will be held in Sapporo and Obihiro between Feb. 19 and 26. There will be five sports, 11 disciplines and 64 events, and 31 delegations are expected to take part.
China has sent a 236-strong delegation to compete in all events at the Games and will face strong competition from old rival South Korea and improving Japan and Kazakhstan among others.