Ice hockey dream of NW China's hockey girl

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-29 11:19:46|Editor: huaxia

LANZHOU, Apr. 29 (Xinhua) -- Song Jianmiao, a 23-year-old hockey player, practices shooting with sweat gathering on her forehead.

Song's hometown is in Jingyuan County of Northwest China's Gansu Province. She is now a crossover athlete of the Chinese women's ice-hockey training team and trains on her own at home due to the outbreak of novel Coronavirus.

Song practices at an 11-a-side hockey field at the Sports School of Jingyuan county. She began playing hockey following the advice of her coach Sun Jiangang as a fifth-grader 11 years ago.

"I loved sports when I was a kid. And hockey was so interesting that I start my own career here," she said.

Song recalled that there were no hockey fields for young athletes like her in Jingyuan county at that time. She and her teammates just practiced on a basketball court under Sun's instruction.

"I had more than 10 teammates, but we just had eight hockey sticks and eight balls. We had to practice in turns," she said.

"Success comes from perspiration," Sun said, adding that only after school or weekends could Song and other team members gather for training. They only left their hometown for competitions during summer or winter holidays.

Gao Xiang, vice-principal of Sports School of Jingyuan county, established the hockey team in 2008.

"Our hockey team has delivered more than 20 players to the hockey team of Gansu province and the national young men's and women's hockey teams. And more than 200 hockey talents have been raised at our school," Gao said.

Sun and his colleagues have been looking for young talents in primary and middle schools in Jingyuan for years.

In 2011, Song, who graduated from Sports School of Jingyuan county, became a registered hockey player at the Track and Field Hockey Center of Gansu province. She and her teammates managed eighth place in the 12th National Games.

In 2014, Song, as a member of the Chinese women's hockey training team, missed her chance to take part in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing due to unfortunate injuries.

"My psychological pain was more than the physical pain. And I chose to persist," she said.

With the 2022 Olympic Winter Games approaching, China's goal is to get 300 million people engaged in winter sports. According to the China Tourism Academy, China's winter sports tourism population reached 224 million in 2019, up by 13.7 percent year-on-year.

In the summer of 2018, Song was selected as a crossover athlete with the Chinese women's ice hockey training team.

"I used to play hockey as a midfield in charge of the attack. Now I've become a center forward on the ice," she said.

In fact, since 2017, the Chinese Ice Hockey Association has been selecting players from hockey and other sports to practice ice hockey, aiming to rebuild the youth training and event systems to improve China's ice hockey program.

In 2020, most of the stadiums for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games will meet the requirements of the test events, which are able to host World Cups and Championships in China.

Song said that hockey is very similar to ice hockey. Through rigorous training, she got enough confidence to face new challenges.

"I am eager to win a trophy at the Winter Olympics," she said. Enditem