SAPPORO, Japan, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese delegation held a flag-raising ceremony at the Sapporo Prince Hotel International Convention Center Pamir here on Saturday to mark the eighth Asian Winter Games (AWG).
Fumio Takei, Sports Affairs Bureau Director for the organizing committee of the Games, welcomed the Chinese delegation on behalf of the organizers.
"I wish the athletes 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.
Representatives of the Chinese delegation, mainly from the short track speed skating team, attended the ceremony.
Gao Zhidan, head of the delegation, said after the ceremony that Chinese athletes will spare no efforts to bring their best performance to 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 the development of winter sports since Beijing's successful bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics...we should make due efforts and make a contribution," he said.
Gao also noted that a member of the men's short track speed skating team will carry the Chinese flag at Sunday's opening ceremony but stopped short of naming him.
Short track is one of few winter sports in which China has typically performed well. Of the 12 gold medals China has won in Winter Olympics history, nine came from short track. The remaining three golds came from figure skating, aerial skiing and speed skating.
The eighth AWG will be held in Sapporo and Obihiro from Feb. 19-26. 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 rivals South Korea and an improving Japan and Kazakhstan, among others.