XINING, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Both the Chinese men's and women's teams claimed their opening wins on the first day of the 2019 Qinghai International Curling Elite which kicked off Thursday in northwest China's Qinghai province.
The 2019 Qinghai International Curling Elite was held at Duoba National Highland Physical Training Base of the province, featuring 16 top teams from 10 countries competing on the ice from December 5 to 10.
The Chinese men's team edged the United States 6-1 in the morning. But the team lost their momentum against Sweden in the evening, losing 6-3.
In the women's action, China held off a Swiss fightback on a 7-4 scoreline in the afternoon.
The Chinese had the lead after four ends and the Swiss roared back to tie the game after the next two. But the hosts bounced back in the last two ends and securing their opening victory.
"We have been preparing for 2022, that's our biggest goal", said Gran Soeren Per Aake, coach of the Chinese men's team, adding that the players are here to learn and be prepared for bigger competitions.
Firstly held in 2016, the competition is drawn this year into the global team ranking points system of the World Curling Federation and has become one of the world's top curling tournaments.
The competition is now recognized as a world curling tour stage as China is working on promoting winter sports. According to a development plan, China is expected to see more than 300 million people involved in winter sports by 2022.
"It is a wonderful way to promote curling in China, especially in this interesting region", said Keith Wendorf, chief umpire of the event.