China will retain pairs strength

China will remain strong in the figure skating pairs at the 2014 Sochi Olympics despite the retirement of Vancouver gold medallists Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, head coach Yao Bin has said.


Pang Qing and Tong Jian, runners-up in Canada, are to skate on and lead China's attempt to retain the title, supported by 2006 Turin silver medallists Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao as well as some promising young skaters, he said.

"Pang and Tong will have no problem going on to the next Games," Yao said of the former world champions, both 30, on the sidelines of an advisory body to China's parliament.

"Shen and Zhao have set the example for them by coming back to win the Olympic gold medal after Zhao's serious injury and a two-year retirement. It is practical inspiration for them."

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