Roundup: World anticipates official opening of Beijing 2022 as ice hockey, freestyle skiing actions get underway

Updated: February 4, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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China's Ling Zhi (L) and Fan Suyuan compete during the curling mixed doubles round robin session of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics between China and Australia at the National Aquatics center in Beijing, China, Feb. 3, 2022. (Xinhua/Zhou Mi)

Ice hockey and freestyle skiing competitions got underway on the heel of curling with just one day to go before the 2022 Winter Olympics open in Beijing.

BEIJING, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The world is holding its breath with just one day to go before the 2022 Winter Olympics open in Beijing, while ice hockey and freestyle skiing competitions also got underway on the heel of curling.

On the eve of the Opening Ceremony, International Olympic Committee (IOC) convened its 139th Session, with IOC President Thomas Bach saying that the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games will usher in a new era for global winter sports.

The IOC chief also hailed that Beijing would officially become the first city ever to host both summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games on Friday.

Ice hockey competition unveiled its curtain on Thursday, with host China losing to Olympic debutants Czech Republic 3-1 in the opener of women's preliminary round.

"It was a very tough matchup for us," said Brian Idalski, head coach of the Chinese women's ice hockey team.

Yu Baiwei (R) of China vies with Klara Hymlarova of the Czech Republic during the women's ice hockey preliminary round Group B match between China and the Czech Republic at Wukesong Sports Center in Beijing, China, Feb. 3, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Fei)

"I feel very excited to have this opportunity to represent China in the Beijing Olympic Winter Games. We will make targeted adjustments for the next game with Denmark," said Yu Baiwei, captain of China's squad.

In other matches, defending champion United States beat Finland 5-2 while another powerhouse Canada swept past Switzerland 12-1.

Freestyle skiing moguls qualifications also kicked off in Zhangjiakou competition zone on Thursday when the Chinese skiers failed to qualify directly for the finals.

Li Nan, the only woman racer from the host nation, scored 63.32 points to rank 19th among the 30 skiers in the first round. "I will try my best in the next round," Li said.

Australia's Jakara Anthony got the first place with a score of 83.75 in the first round of women's moguls qualification.

As the top 10 qualify directly for the finals, the remaining racers will compete in qualification round two to vie for the rest 10 spots.

In men's qualification round one, the PyeongChang champion Mikael Kingsbury was in form and placed first with 81.15.

China's Zhao Yang finished his run, but ranked at bottom. "I feel very lucky and excited. For the Chinese moguls skiers, there's still a long way to go. We have made great progress in the past few years, and I believe we'll improve faster in the future," Zhao said.

In curling mixed doubles round robin competitions, the Chinese pair of Fan Suyuan and Ling Zhi edged Australia's Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt 6-5 in session 2, but then lost to Sweden's Almida De Val and Oskar Eriksson 7-6 in session 4.

Editor: Duan Jing