CHANGCHUN, China, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- A leg of the 2019-2020 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup kicked off on Friday in Changchun, capital city of northeast China's Jilin province, with Chinese athletes failing to get through the first round of qualifications in both men's and women's difficulty events.
A total of 31 players competed in the women's difficulty qualification on the first day, and six competitors reached the top with last season's champion Maria Tolokonina of Russia finished the first. All six Chinese women players failed to qualify, and the highest-ranked Li Lan finished the 22nd.
Nine Chinese started the men's dificulty qualification, all failed to reach the semifinals with the highest-ranked Zhang Dingfeng sitting on the 25th.
The Chinese national team coach Li Guangxu said that Chinese players still had more to learn, given that the sport is a young one in China. "Hopefully we can make some breakthrough in the speed races later in this three-day World Cup," he said.
Founded in 2002, the Ice Climbing World Cup is the highest level event of the sport, consisting of four events, namely the men's and women's speed races and difficult races. China's leg this year has attracted nearly 80 athletes from 16 countries and regions, including China, the United States, Canada, Russia and France.