SHENYANG, Northeast China, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Shenyang leg of the Chinese speedskating league kicked off Saturday at China's northeast city of Shenyang, Liaoning province.
The two-day leg features four events for both men and women skaters, namely 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m and 3,000m for women, and 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m and 5,000m for men.
A total of 142 skaters from 16 teams gathered for the Shenyang leg, with the striking absence of first class athletes who are tuning up for the coming Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
Ding Zhenping, an official from the Chinese Winter Sports Center, said that "Chinese skaters are still a long way from the top-notched athletes in the world, although we have Wang Beixing for the women's short distance events, a gold medal hopeful in Vancouver."
The league will promote the sport among Chinese young athletes as many of the competitors are under 20-year-old, explained Ding.