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Speed skater Zhang wins "heaviest" gold, says official

English.news.cn   2014-02-14 05:41:09

SOCHI, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Zhang Hong's victory in the women's 1,000m speed skating on Thursday, which won China's first ever Olympic gold in the sport, will inspire the Chinese delegation at the Sochi Games, a top Chinese official said.

"It's a historical moment when Zhang ended China's Olympic gold drought in speed skating, a blue-ribbon event in winter sports," said Xiao Tian, deputy chef de mission.

"It is the heaviest gold medal for the country and we have been waiting for this for 22 years."

The 25-year-old Zhang clocked one minute and 14.02 seconds for the country's second gold in Sochi, 0.67 seconds ahead of the Netherlands' triple-gold medalist Ireen Wust. Another Dutch woman Margot Boer got the bronze in 1:14.90.

It was the first time for China to win two golds on a winter Olympic day. Earlier, Li Jianrou triumphed in the women's 500m short track speed skating final.

China won its first Olympic speed skating medal in 1992 when Ye Qiaobo finished runner-up over both 1,000m and 500m. But the gold had never come until the Sochi Games.

"For so many times, we had narrowly missed it," said Xiao. "Ye Qiaobo, Xue Ruihong, Wang Manli...All these skaters had done their part in the sport. The gold medal is a reward to our efforts.

"This means a lot to the future of Chinese speed skating and it will raise the confidence of the Chinese team."

As a short track skater for seven years, Zhang Hong switched to speed skating six years ago.

"I think credit should go to Feng Qingbo," said Xiao. "As Zhang Hong's coach, Feng is open-minded and resourceful and he has an edge in training and strategy-making. It's fair to say that, without Feng, Zhang could not be so successful."

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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