Figure skating chief plays down China's chance at coming worlds

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-12 22:59:29|Editor: yan
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BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Zhao Hongbo, head coach of the Chinese figure skating team, told media Tuesday that China might have few chances to make podium finish at the upcoming world championships but they'd fight all way there.

"We've suffered some problems with the most experienced skaters, both pairs and singles, and our young talents are far from being world class," said Zhao after a training session which is open to media.

The annual world championships are slated on March 18-24 in Saitama, Japan and China will be represented by two singles, two pairs and two ice dancing couples with Olympic silver medalists Sui Wenjing/Han Cong leading the squad.

"One year after PyeongChang Winter Games, Sui is still haunted by her foot injury, while her partner Han is not so well either, especially with his waist. The four-month sideline cost them a lot. They are definitely not in their best form," Zhao added.

Sui and Han missed almost the whole 2018-2019 season after the 23-year-old Sui received surgery on her bone fatigue fractured right foot last March.

It's not until earlier July, 2018 that Sui ended her in-hospital rehabilitation and came back to the national squad, and her return to regular on-ice training was even later.

The duo of Harbin natives, however, came back to win the Four Continents Championships last month, their first international event after ten months away from competition rink.

"Everyone can see that they are so eager to train better, but there's something you cannot hush up," Zhao said.

The pair suffered another setback recently when Sui committed a big fall during training last month after their short trip to DPR Korea for an exhibition show.

"We had another ten days and more to be sidelined since Sui's injured again, and did not resume routine training until last week," Han told a post-training interview.

"Actually, we don't have enough competitions this season to get our two programs well tested," Han said.

"Now the worlds are coming. We're both exciting and anxious at the same time. Sui even takes an extra training session by herself everyday," he added.

According to Zhao, the Chinese national team will also sent this season's Grand Prix Finals silver medalists Peng Cheng/Jin Yang for the worlds, as well as PyeongChang's fourth-placed men's single skater Jin Boyang, a 16-year-old newbie Chen Hongyi for the women's singles, and Wang Shiyue/Liu Xinyu and Chen Hong/Sun Zhuoming for the ice dance event.

"We are not expecting too much for the championships but we'll give all out for some fair results," said Zhao.