SAPPORO, Japan, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Foreign coaches, who have played an important role in the development of China's ice and snow sports, are now helping Chinese athletes with their 2022 Winter Olympics dream.
There are a total of seven foreign coaches in the Chinese squad here at the eighth Winter Asiad. The coaches, all thinking highly of the Chinese teams' potential, have brought many positive changes to their teams.
"I have confidence in the potential of my team," said Mikko Olavi Virtanen, head coach of the Chinese cross-country skiing team.
"We have a quite young team, with many athletes not yet 20 years old. I believe they will become great athletes in the Beijing Winter Olympics five years from now," said the Finnish coach.
China has lagged behind in cross-country skiing, especially in the long-distance events. Now, under the coach, the team is catching up, especially in short-distance events such as the 1.4-km individual sprint.
"I started (to train the team) since August, 2016. We need more time. We need years to train the athletes and to improve their physical fitness to get better results," said the coach.
He also said the problem for the Chinese skiing team is the lack of competitions. "Right now we have 15 to 20 competitions every year. They (Chinese team) need 25 to 30 competitions," he said.
Richard Edward Seeley, coach of the Chinese women's ice hockey team, echoed Virtanen's opinion on the lack of games.
"We played some very good games in the U.S. and Canada. But in the recent two months, we seldom played games. This is not good for an ice hockey team, as we need to play games frequently to keep our good form," he said.
He also said that other countries in the world are all making progress fast, and "if we don't communicate with them, we could hardly know which place we are at."
As for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Seeley said that though he thinks the team is not ready yet, he is confident about the future. "I believe in the ability of my team members. They just need more experiences," he said.
Zang Ruxin, a gold medalist in the women's slalom snowboard here, said that she has made a lot of progress since the foreign coach took over.
"He has taught us a lot in techniques and made very good arrangements for our training and competitions abroad," said Zang.
"I'm satisfied with the performance of my team. But they still have much room for improvement. Our goals are the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics," said Peter Kotnik, Slovenian coach of the Chinese snowboarding team.