Chinese women ski jumpers eye a fly in Sochi

Updated: 2012-01-05 14:21


  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

JILIN, Jilin province - Every time when Ma Tong jumps off the ramp, she feels like a flying bird. And deep in her heart lies a dream - "fly" in the sky over Sochi, Russia.

It was an unforgettable Wednesday for Ma, as the 17-year-old won the first gold medal at the 12th Chinese National Winter Games in the women's normal hill ski jumping here in the Beidahu skiing resort in northeast China's Jilin city. It was the first time women's ski jumping is included at the National Winter Games.

Ma, who represents Tonghua city at the Games, produced the best two jumps - 73 meters and 79 meters in the K90 event for the highest score of 151.5 points.

"Well, the gold medal is good. But I would not say it's a big success," said Ma, whose personal best is over 90 meters.

Ma, who started to practice ski jumping in 2009, has set her sights on the 2014 Olympics. "I love ski jumping. It makes me feel like a free bird. And I want to be a world champion one day," said the ambitious Ma.

Li Xiaoping, deputy team leader of China's national ski jumping team, said that Ma has a long way to go. "Ma's problem is that she has never managed to do as good jumps as in training. She need to work on stability in the future," said Li. "But she is still young."

Despite Ma's inconsistency, Li is optimistic about his proteges. "Asian female jumpers like the Japanese have had good results on international arena. Our jumpers are not physically inferior to them, so I have faith in these girls. All they lack is just experience," he said.

Li added that Ma would next focus on international events such as the World Cup series to gain experience and win Olympic qualifying points.

Li Xueyao, who was 29 points behind Ma to finish with a silver on Wednesday, is luckier than Ma, as the 17-year-old would have an early taste of Olympic atmosphere in the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games later this month in Innsbruck, Austria.

As for Ma, she does not need to complain about the luck, either. Women's ski jumping is added to the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 for the first time, although the sport has been part of the Olympic family since the first Winter Games in Chamonix Mont-Blanc in 1924.