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Chinese athletes relax at the Team Welcome Ceremony
China looking on the bright side after loss of injured medal machine Wang Meng

05 Feb 2014
Sochi, Russia: Imagine Argentina without Lionel Messi. Or Portugal without Cristiano Ronaldo.That's what it feels like looking at China's team for Sochi 2014 without female short track star Wang Meng, the most decorated Chinese athlete in the history of the Olympic Winter Games.Wang, 28, has already won six medals, including four gold, in two Winter Olympics, but has missed out on Sochi due to an ankle injury.

This will make a serious dent in China's ambitions to repeat their achievements in Vancouver four years ago by winning five gold medals, as Wang accounted for three of those: 500m, 1,000m and 3,000m relay.

"Wang Meng is one of our best skaters and devoted herself to the Olympic Games," said Zhao Yinggang, Deputy Chef de Mission, at the Team Welcome Ceremony in the Coastal Athletes' Village on Wednesday morning.

"It is a big pity that she suffered this injury and cannot attend. We never expected anything like this to happen, but this is the truth and we must face it.

"Not only is Wang Meng one of the best skaters on our team, she is one of the best in the world. But our team is also one of the best in the world, so we hope we can get good results without Wang Meng."
China has won a total of nine gold medals in the Winter Olympics, with seven in short track and one each in figure skating and freestyle skiing.

At Torino 2006, Wang won a gold, silver and bronze, and followed up with three gold in Vancouver four years ago when China swept all four gold medals in women's short track.

Looking ahead to Sochi, Zhao added: "We expect to be better than in Vancouver and we will strive to reach our target. We have many targets, not just to get medals but also for athletes to record their personal best."
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