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China has announced its women’s curling team selection for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Han Yu, a 21-year-old skip, will lead the foursome of Zong Ziqi, Zhang Lijun, Jiang Xindi and alternate Yan Hui. All five competed at the 2021 world championship in Calgary, finishing tied for sixth place with a 6-7 won/loss record.

Among the victories were a 5-2 win over 2018 Olympic bronze medallists Japan (Satsuki Fujisawa), a 7-6 win over Scotland’s Eve Muirhead and a 7-5 triumph over the defending Olympic champions from Sweden skipped by Anna Hasselborg.

Han and Zhang – Steve Seixeiro-WCF

Han and Zhang – Steve Seixeiro-WCF

Han will face all three opponents again in Beijing. Overall, the women’s four-player field is believed to be one of the most competitive in Olympic curling history.

The team has an average age of 23.

Han’s evolution in Chinese women’s curling has been rapid. She debuted at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer and won silver in mixed doubles with Scotland’s Ross Whyte. Two years later she skipped China to fourth place at the 2019 World Juniors, and eight months later she led China to adult women’s gold at the Pacific-Asia Championships.

The selection comes after a six-leg match series hosted in China between two teams of prospects and two teams of challengers, made up of veterans and former competitors. China’s teams, which normally train and compete in Canada, have been training on home soil since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.