China Laureus Awards. Best coach: Hongbo Zhao, best duo: Wenjing Sui & Cong Han

Hongbo Zhao, head coach of the Chinese figure skating team, and pair skaters Wenjing Sui and Cong Han were honored the best coach, respectively the best duo of the year on China Top 10 Benefiting Laureus Sports for Good awards ceremony, on December 20.

by Xingang Mi/Beijing

“After seven years of efforts, the duo of Chinese figure skating returned to the top level of the world arena”, said Hongbo Zhao during the ceremony. “I have been the head coach for four years, and I am greatly happy to receive the honor”.

During the ceremony, Wenjing Sui and Cong Han said the award is a great motivation to them, especially for their upcoming Olympic debut in PyeongChang, in February 2018. As for how to divide the one trophy, one medal and one watch, Cong said: “We will discuss it afterwards”. A fan standing beside them added quickly: “Forget it, as you are a family”. “No, we aren’t”, Wenjing retorted loudly with a laugh.

Several other team members, Xiaoyu Yu, Hao Zhang, Han Yan and Boyang Jin, also attended the ceremony. As for Boyang’s condition – he was injured and missed the Grand Prix Final in Nagoya –, coach Zhao told a reporter that Boyang is getting better, and that his basic capabilities are now at 80 or 90 percent.

Olympic champion in 2010 alongside Xue Shen, Hongbo Zhao was awarded the trophy for the best coach for his contribution to help Wenjing Sui/Cong Han and the other pairs to the world stage. Sui and Han, who’d been given the award for the best duo of the year, won both of their Grand Prix events this season – Cup of China and NHK Trophy – and came second at the Grand Prix Final in Nagoya; the pair is considered one of the main contenders for gold in PyeongChang.

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Hongbo Zhao, best coach of the year, applauding his students – screenshot from the award ceremony in Beijing

Also attending the ceremony: Han Yan, Hao Zhang, Xiaoyu Yu, Boyang Jin