China announced its 98-person roster for the 2024 Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG), due to take place in South Korea from January 19 to February 1, on Friday.
The fourth edition of the YOG will feature some 1,900 athletes between the age of 14 and 18 from 81 National Olympic Committees competing in 81 events of 15 disciplines across seven sports, with Chinese athletes registered in all seven.
It will be the first comprehensive winter sports competition for Team China since the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Liu Guoyong, deputy director of the General Administration of Sport of China, is heading the delegation. "This event is a test of the sustainable development of winter sports in China and the training of young players," said Liu at a ceremony to mark the announcement of the delegation in Beijing on Friday.
"Through preparation and participation, we will achieve the purpose of training the team, accumulating experience and improving the level, to provide young talents for the Winter Olympics," he added.
Team China have pocketed a total of 42 medals from the past three editions. Liu An won China's first YOG gold medal in its inaugural edition, Innsbruck 2012, in the boys' 500m speed skating event.
Team China had 23 athletes registered in both the 2012 Games and 2016 Games in Lillehammer, and expanded the group to 53 in Laussane in 2020, when Olympic champion Gu Ailing, a 16-year-old prodigy then, won two gold medals out of the three taken by Team China.
Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee and the organizers announced on Thursday that Gangwon 2024 will introduce the first ever metaverse experience for Youth Olympic fans, ranging from virtual tours of the game venues, to online competition against other users in mini games such as ski jumping, bobsleigh and curling, featuring translation services in six languages (Korean, English, Spanish, French, Japanese and Chinese).
(Cover: File photo of a Gangwon 2024 Games venue in Gangwon, South Korea, January 3, 2024. /CFP)