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Home racers channel China's ancient warriors to fuel hopes

China Daily | Updated: 2022-02-11 10:01
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Yin Zheng [Photo/Xinhua]

China's skeleton racers are drawing inspiration from the host nation's ancient warriors in their bid to make home advantage count and get among the medals at the Beijing Winter Games.

Yin Zheng, who goes into Friday's final two heats of the men's event in seventh position, sports a motif on his helmet inspired by a general from the Han dynasty.

"We had a local designer come up with the design," said the 25-year-old.

"The top of the helmet looks like the headdress of what an ancient military general like Lu Bu would wear.

"The motifs on the side of the helmet looks like the armor of a general.

"There are little dragons on the front of the helmet.

"This is the Olympic Games and I wanted to showcase a side of Chinese culture."

Teammate Yan Wengang goes into the decisive day in the bronze position, at 0.75sec behind overnight leader Christopher Grotheer of Germany.

The 24-year-old Chinese says hours of training on his home track at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre are paying off.

"We've clocked more than 500 runs, that gives us confidence," Yan said after Thursday's opening heats.

The men's Olympic skeleton has been won by a racer from the home nation at each of the last three Winter Games, which gives Yan hope.

"I have a chance now, but if you think too much about that, you won't even be able to do what you're normally able to do," he said.

Yan only made his World Cup debut in 2018 and his progress reflects how far China has come in the sport in a short period of time.

"We started the team in October 2015, then sent someone to the (Winter) Games in 2018," he said.

"In those few years I really knew nothing about the sport or about the Olympic Winter Games.

"But after Pyeongchang 2018 ended, I felt a lot more passion for the sport and started to see some returns."


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