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China women's hockey team hopeful for an Olympic medal

2024-06-07 HKT 11:19
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  • China women's hockey team hopeful for an Olympic medal
China's women's hockey team has set their sights on a podium spot at this year's Olympics, even though they have a tough road ahead to clinch a medal.

Preparations have been underway for the Paris Games, with the team recently spending almost two months in the Australian city of Perth for a training programme.

Zhong Jiaqi, who's playing in her second Olympics, said the squad is more prepared this time than during the Tokyo Games in 2021.

“I think we are more confident, and the whole team is in a very good condition,” Zhong said. “It could be because our result in the last Olympics was not satisfactory, so we want this year's Games to be good.”

Fellow teammate and defender Zheng Jiali, who is representing China for the first time at the Olympics, said the team is aiming for gold.

“We have strengthened techniques and strategies, as well as our fitness. There are overall changes and adjustments,” she added.

The national team achieved its best Olympic result on home soil during the 2008 Beijing Games, where they took silver. One of their coaches, Huang Yongsheng, said the team's success does not stop there.

“Whether it's 2008 or after 2008, the goal of the women's hockey team has never changed. We strive to do our best and always work to achieve the best results,” Huang said. “I feel like [the achievement in] 2008 is not our endpoint, it is just a starting point.”

Two years ago, Australia’s two-time Olympic gold medalist Alyson Annan took charge of the Chinese squad, and coach Huang said it has helped the team grow.

"She brought some pioneering concepts from the West, merging them with what we already had in China, in the hope of better techniques and tactics that fit China more," Huang said.

The national team faces an uphill battle in Paris, having been placed in the same group as reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands.

Other teams in the same group include Belgium, Germany, Japan and hosts France.

Team manager Guo Hong said he is certain the team will give their all.

“Everyone has an Olympic dream. But I think we should be realistic and do things gradually,” Guo said.

China women's hockey team hopeful for an Olympic medal