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China, counting on women's aerials, aims for Olympic gold in Torino


China, counting on women’s aerials, aims for Olympic gold in Torino{mosimage}BEIJING (AP) — China expects to pick up more than two gold medals at next month’s Turin Games, surpassing its previous best at a Winter Olympics, the government’s Xinhua News Agency quoted a senior Chinese sports official as saying Sunday.

Wang Yitao, director of winter sports for the State General Administration of Sports, said a more competitive women’s ski team is improving China’s medal prospects, augmenting an expected strong performance from women’s short track speed skaters at the Winter Games, Xinhua said.

In particular, women’s skiers have a good chance of winning freestyle aerials competition, Xinhua quoted Wang, who is also president of the China Ski Association, as saying.

Though a Summer Olympics powerhouse, China is relatively weak in winter sports. It had not won a gold medal at a Winter Games until speed skater Yang Yang won two short track events at Salt Lake City four years ago.

Wang’s confidence in the women skiers was buoyed by the first and second place finishes of two Chinese skiers_Xu Nannan and Zhang Xin_at the World Cup freestyle aerials finals in the northeastern city of Changchun last month.

Chinese sports officials have said that in addition to freestyle aerials and short track speed skating, China stands a chance of picking up medals in figure skating and snowboarding.

-The Associated Press

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