Chinese ice hockey eyes comeback to Asian Games glory

Updated: 2007-01-23 14:07
Large Medium Small

Chinese women's ice hockey team have riveted their eyes on the gold while their men's counterparts will strive to finish within the top three at the 6th Winter Asian Games, opening on Sunday in Changchun, Jilin province of northest China.

Chinese women's team, two-time champions since the event was first introduced into the third version of the Games, only bagged a bronze in Aomori, Japan in 2002.

"The girls are determined to win back the gold.They are highly spirited and motivated now," said Ji Junfeng, ice hockey official in the State General Administration of Sports.

China finished top of the podium in the 1996 Games in Harbin, China and made successful defence three years later in Kangwon, South Korea but lost their glory in Aomori.

After failing to qualify for the 2006 Turin Olympics, understandable consider that there are only around 100 full-time women ice hockey players in China, the team underwent a major change.

New blood was infused into the team later 2005 when 11 students from Harbin Sports School joined the team and Jorma Siitarinen, the fourth foreign coach, took over the rein in 2006.

"These players will be put to test when they face Japan and Kazakhstan, who are our major rivals in the Games," he said.

Japan have been runners-up for the past three Games while Kazakhstan upset China to win the gold last time after finishing third twice.

Chinese men's ice hockey, champions in the first and second winter Games, also have a new foreign coach on board and to face the challenge from Japan and Kazakhstan but their goal would be a podium finish.

Jarmo Jamalainen, another coach from Finland, was listed in the roster but he was allowed little time for the preparation for the Games as he just took over the team last week.

He will find out that China, pooled in Group C with Kuwait and Macao, China, probably meet their first challenge from South Korea in the second phase.

"It will be a tough battle for them," Ji predicted.

Kazakhstan will defend their title in Changchun.

Following are the ice hockey squad of the Chinese team for the 6th Winter Asian Games to kick off on Sunday in Changchun, Jilin province in northeast China:


Coach - Jarmo Jamalainen (Finland)

Players - Yu Yang, Liu Xue, Xie Ming, Wang Dahai, Yin Kai, Li Qingming, Liu Kunpeng, Zhang Haiquan, Wang Ye, Zhou Yudi, Zhang Yang, Wang Yanfu, Du Chao, Li Guoyang, Wang Dakai, Zhang Weiyang, Dong Liang, Wang Zhiqiang, Fu Nan, Lang Bingyu, Liu Henan, Chen Lei, Cui Zhinan

Substitutes - Guo Xin, Qu Siyan, Wang Xiaonan


Coach - Jorma Siitarinen (Finland)

Players - Wang Linuo, Jin Fengling, Sun Rui, Gao Fujin, Li Xiuli, Su Ziwei, Zhang Pen, Tan Anqi, Qi Xueting, Fu Rui, Shi Yao, Zhang Shuang, Cui Shanshan, Huang Haijing, Jiang Na, Yu Baiwei, Sang Hong, Wang Nan, Ma Rui, Zhang Jing, Cui Lina

Substitutes - Tang Liang, Xia Zhenglai, Huo Cui, Liu Borui