Buoyed by freestyle skiers, China targets its best Winter Olympics{mosimage}BEIJING – China expects to pick up more than two gold medals at next month’s Torino 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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