BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- After 16 months out of competition, China's veteran figure skater Zhang Hao took part in the Chinese Figure Skating Club League in Changchun, northeast China, on Sunday, with the event also serving as a qualifier for the National Winter Games next year.
35-year-old Zhang, together with his partner Yu Xiaoyu, finished second in the pairs. It was no easy feat for Zhang, who underwent two leg operations and had been sidelined from training for three months.
"We only started training 19 days before the competition," Zhang told Xinhua on Tuesday. "I really went through a lot. It was so hard. Xiaoyu helped me a lot."
Yu and Zhang, who won gold at the 2017 Winter Asiad and finished eighth at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, had not taken part in any competition since the 2018 Figure Skating World Championships, where they finished seventh.
They were absent from the 2018 national team training roster and also skipped the 2019 World Championship due to Zhang's injury.
"I want to compete in the National Winter Games next year, so I need to accrue enough points to make it," said Zhang, a five-time Olympian. "I will take part in the national championships next month as it is also a qualifier."
Because of Zhang's injury, the pair had to forego several difficult jumps in their two routines in Changchun.
"We had to skip some movements," Zhang said. "My leg is not fully recovered yet. I still need more time."
Talking about his injury, Zhang said: "As my right leg is injured, the left leg bears more pressure. The recovery time was short and this added many difficulties, but I managed to overcome them."