Hong Kong Figure Skaters Debut At National Winter Games

Ice skating is fast becoming one of Hong Kong and Macao’s most popular sports. Families are spending more than they ever have on pursuits like ice skating, figure skating, and ice dancing in Hong Kong. With the talent pool increasing rapidly, so too are the numbers of young sportspeople going to the National Winter Games from these areas. Ono Tanami is a Hong Kong figure skater, and was the sole representative from the Special Administrative Region in the figure skating arena at this year’s National Winter Games. Gong Huiyan and Guan Ruxin also made their debuts, representing Macao.

The coach of the Macao team is Li Liping, who said of the figure skaters that “This is their first time to compete in the National Winter Games, and the first time to compete with professional figure skaters from other parts of the country”. The coach noted that figure skating and ice skating are becoming more popular in Hong Kong and Macao, with families spending more and more time and money on extracurricular activities on the ice rink.

The Macao figure skaters, Gong Huiyan and Guan Ruxin, are both under 15. Huiyan is only fourteen years old, while Ruxin is representing her region at the tender age of ten years old. Guan Ruxin said “I feel good dancing on the ice. I think I did quite well in the competition”. She noted that “I am not a professional figure skater. I receive my training in the after school hours. I live close to a skating rink and I fall in love with skating”. The fact that she must concentrate on academic studies as well as skating on the ice rink only makes her achievement that much more impressive.

Ono Tanami was the Hong Kong figure skater representing the region at the Games. She is 18 years old, and while she made an error in her performance, she maintains a strong relationship with her coach, who comforted her immediately after she had finished. In fact, all of the skaters enjoy support from their families; Huang Jiafeng, Gong Huayin’s mother, says that “My daughter enjoys full support from the family in skating. I have accompanied my daughter during every competition she has taken part in”. She added, “We spend a lot of money training her each year and we think our efforts are paying off”.

The National Winter Games for China this year were held in Qiqihar. The competitions included ice hockey, figure skating, short-track speed skating, curling, freestyle skiing, downhill skiing, cross country skiing and ski jumping. A total of 92 gold medals were handed out, and the Hong Kong figure skater as well as the Macao skaters were the first to compete for the first gold medals in the ice events.

While the ice skating veterans held the medals at the National Winter Games, they felt the push from young figure skaters from Hong Kong and the rest of the region. “They are really good skaters, and the mounting competition would for sure improve China’s figure skating overall”, said Liu Yan, who swept the table with all of the women’s gold medals.

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