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Goals in sight as China laces up its skates

By SUN XIAOCHEN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-30 07:14

Challenges ahead

However, this appears to be a tough task given the huge gap between China and the world's leading countries in the sport.

China's men's team has never competed at the Olympics or at any top-level international tournaments.

The women's squad finished fourth when women's ice hockey made its Olympic debut in Nagano, Japan, in 1998 followed by two more Olympic appearances in 2002 and 2010 before slumping in recent years due to a shrinking talent pool.

Yu Baiwei, captain of the national women's team, said the challenge now faced has brought motivation.

"This is definitely a historic moment for Chinese hockey," said the 30-year-old veteran, who represented China at the team's most recent Olympic appearance in 2010 in Vancouver.

"But it doesn't mean we can slow down right now. We have to work harder to make every second count in the next four years to prepare for good results at home."

With a short history in developing winter sports, the lack of facilities, training expertise and a sound domestic competition system in China, as well as the expensive nature of the sport, are among issues hampering its rise.

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