HEADLINE China's Zhang qualifies for freestyle skiing women's halfpipe final in Winter Olympics debut

HEADLINE

China's Zhang qualifies for freestyle skiing women's halfpipe final in Winter Olympics debut

Xinhua

14:52, February 19, 2018

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Zhang Kexin of China competes during the Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Ski Halfpipe Qualification on day 10 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 19, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo: VCG)

China's freestyle skiing hope Zhang Kexin has secured a berth in women's halfpipe final through Monday's qualification at PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

Fifteen-year-old Zhang posted 80.60 points in her first run, before improving by 0.40 points in the followed-up attempt. She was ranked eighth among 24 skiers, as the top 12 competitors in qualification are entitled a berth in Tuesday's final.

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Zhang Kexin competes during the qualification. (Photos: Screenshots of CCTV)

Zhang finished third in World Cup series in Copper Mountain, United States, before claiming her first World Cup title in Chongli, China's Hebei province last December.

"I felt quite nervous. My coach told me to take a deep breath, relax and concentrate on my run.

"Winter Olympic Games and World Cup are totally different, especially on atmosphere and crowds," said Zhang, adding that she has no clear goal in the final.

China has sent three young skiers to PyeongChang with a target of gaining experience for the upcoming Winter Olympics on home soil in 2022.

China's Chai Hong finished 19th with 63.60 points, followed by teammate Wu Meng, who was born on October 2, 2002, and is the youngest competitor in PyeongChang.

Chai injured her right knee last year, but chose to postpone her surgery until the end of Winter Olympics.

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Chai Hong competes during the qualification.

"For me, the injury is OK. Just two runs in the qualification, if I cannot give it a try, I may feel quite disappointed," said Chai.

Looking forward to the 2022 Winter Olympics, Chai said, "I hope to make into the final in 2022. Otherwise, my effort in preparation will not pay off. I don't want to let myself down then."

Cassie Sharpe of Canada sat atop qualification with 93.40 points.

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