Changchun (China), March 8 (IANS) Chinese junior skaters should take one step at a time and progress gradually, suggested Dutch speed skating coach Milan Rocken who steered her team at the ISU Junior Speed Skating World Cup Final held here at the weekend.
“You can’t always ask for gold medals in international competitions, for the teenagers need to advance step by step,” said Roken in comments on the junior skating development programme.
The Dutch team snatched two gold medals at the World Cup Final from the women’s team pursuit and the men’s team event respectively, illustrating its domination in the sport, reports Xinhua.
The Netherlands had seized eight gold, seven silver and eight bronze medals from speed skating at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. According to Rocken, Dutch teenage skaters possibly can’t compete with their peers from China and South Korea, but they can be better in the senior competitions.
“I am still a junior skater at present and I am not a professional. Compared with my Chinese peers, my training sessions are shorter and easier, but more reasonable, I think,” said Femke Markus, a junior skater from Amsterdam.
Rocken said speed skating is a more popular sport than soccer in the Netherlands during winter. “There are many small skating clubs in the Netherlands and these clubs are funded by sponsors,” said Rocken, so a Dutch national skating team can guarantee a steady feed of “new blood”.
After Beijing’s successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, China hopes to dig deep in skating. Two Dutch skating coaches had been hired by the Heilongjiang provincial team in 2012 and more foreign coaches see an opportunity to come to China now. The Chinese skating association also earmarks money to support elite junior athletes to train abroad.