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BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese athletes will aim high and strive for good results at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, a Chinese sports official told Xinhua in a recent interview.


"The Pyeongchang Winter Games will be a great opportunity for Chinese athletes to accumulate experience and prepare for the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. Meanwhile, we will also do our utmost to get good results," said Liu Chengliang, deputy director of the Winter Sports Management Center of China's General Administration of Sport.


Chinese short track speed skaters, who have captured six gold medals at the last two winter Olympics under the guidance of star coach Li Yan, are set to be strong medal contenders again in Pyeongchang.


"We are working hard to prepare for next month's Asian Winter Games and the Olympic Games next year in Pyeongchang," said Li. "Our skaters are not in their top shape right now, but I believe we will be well prepared for the Olympics in one year's time."


Having claimed the first-ever speed skating Olympic gold medal for China in the women's 1,000 meter three years ago, Zhang Hong and teammate Yu Jing will lead the country's medal hopefuls in speed skating competitions in Pyeongchang.


"It's really hard to predict the results. What I can say is that we are confident in our ability to show our best form at the Olympic Games," said Zhang and Yu's coach Feng Qingbo.


Chinese athletes will also pursue medals in figure skating, freestyle skiing aerials, snowboarding halfpipe and curling.


Liu notes that China's representation in these sports has been strong in recent editions of the Games.


"Our athletes have been competitive in these events in the last few Games, they will do their best in Pyeongchang," said Liu.


China has launched new national team programs in snow sports including luge, bobsled, skeleton, ski jumping, and Nordic combined since the 2022 Winter Games were awarded jointly to Beijing and Zhangjiakou in July 2015.


Liu says he hopes to see more Chinese representation in the Pyeongchang and Beijing Winter Games.


"We have hired over 30 foreign coaches to help our national teams, especially the newly-founded teams. We have also sent a lot of teams to train abroad," Liu said.


"We are trying our best to help the athletes improve their abilities and performance. Hopefully we can have more athletes compete in more events at the next two Winter Games," he added.



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by Yoo Seungki


SEOUL, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The bereaved families who lost their loved ones in one of South Korea's deadliest maritime disaster seemed at a first glance to have returned to their normal life, smilingly having a chat with each other before press conference to foreign correspondents in Seoul earlier this week.


The conference was held ahead of the second anniversary on Saturday of the passenger ferry-sinking tragedy that claimed hundreds of lives, mostly high school students on their school trip to the country's southern resort island of Jeju.


Nationwide memorial ceremonies, which started from Friday night, would continue later in the day, including the reading of memorial poems, the performing of memorial music and the origami event to fold yellow paper boats.


Two years ago, the 6,825-ton ferry Sewol capsized and sank off the country's southwest coast, leaving 304 passengers dead.


Bodies of nine people, who are still unaccounted for, are believed to have been trapped inside the sunken vessel.


Two fathers and a mother, who lost their precious children in the sinking, failed to hide their grim faces during the press conference.


However, they seemed no longer to stay in abysmal sorrow, speaking in a resolute and solemn tone about what they have been fighting for.


"I miss my daughter far more in spring when cherry blossoms bloom. It's probably because it happened in April," said Yoo Gyoung-Geun, father of Yae-Eun, one of Danwon High School students who were killed in the country's deadliest peacetime disaster.


Yoo is the executive director for the April 16 Families for Truth and a Safer Society, an association representing bereaved families of the victims.


He still lives in agony. When he misses her daughter so much, Yoo said, he sometimes wishes he could not open his eyes in the morning to follow his daughter to the grave.


However, he said he cannot even kill himself because truth behind the disaster hasn't been revealed. Yoo asked journalists to focus on what the bereaved families have been fighting for, instead of reporting on the still ongoing grief and pain. Gaining sympathy was not included in his wish list.


What the bereaved families desperately wanted was clear, truth.


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