Chinese figure skating team arrives for Saitama Worlds


Zhao Hongbo (L), head coach of the Chinese figure skating team and Shen Xue, president of The Chinese Figure Skating Association (CFSA) arrive at Haneda International Airport for 2019 Saitama ISU World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, on March 17, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

SAITAMA, Japan, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese national figure skating team arrived at the Tokyo International Airport on Sunday afternoon to take part in the 2019 ISU Figure Skating World Championships in Saitama.

"We had a nice flight," Zhao Hongbo, head coach of the national team, told Xinhua. "We left Shougang Training Center at 8:00 this morning. Today we will have some rest and tomorrow we will start training."

Olympic runners-up Sui Wenjing/Han Cong spearheaded the national team. They have been struggling for form in recent days as Sui committed a big fall during training last month after their short trip to DPR Korea for an exhibition show.

"They are getting better," said Zhao. "But not quite steady. We will try our best at Worlds."

Sui and Han missed almost the whole 2018-2019 season after the 23-year-old Sui received a surgery on a fractured bone in her right foot last March.

It's not until earlier July, 2018 that Sui ended her in-hospital rehabilitation and came back to the national squad, and her return to regular on-ice training was even later.

The duo of Harbin natives, however, came back to win the Four Continents Championships last month, their first international event after 10 months away from competition rink.

"To be injured again is a blow for them," said Zhao. "The first time was difficult enough, and they have to deal with it twice."

The Chinese national team also sent this season's Grand Prix Finals silver medalists Peng Cheng/Jin Yang for the worlds, as well as PyeongChang's fourth-placed men's single skater Jin Boyang, a 16-year-old newbie Chen Hongyi for the women's singles, and Wang Shiyue/Liu Xinyu and Chen Hong/Sun Zhuoming for the ice dance event.

Jin, 21, runner-up at the Four Continents meet, will face Japan's two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu in Saitama.

"I don't have to deal with jet lag or strange food here in Japan, so I can focus on my training and competition," said Jin.

The World Championships will run from March 18 to 24.