Meet Lisa, Mama, Dazhou and Betty… Team China's Olympic curlers

  • Bingyu Wang's Chinese women's team © WCF / Richard Gray

China women qualified for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 after winning the Olympic Qualification Event in Pilsen, Czech Republic, in December 2017.

That event was the final chance for any Member Association that had competed at a World Curling Championship, in the four seasons prior to the Games, to secure a spot on curling's biggest stage.

China's record that week was six wins - Czech Republic (7-6 in an extra end), Finland (9-0), Latvia (11-5), Denmark (9-3), Germany (7-3) and Italy in the final, by 11-4 - and one loss. China's loss was against Italy, in the round-robin, by 8-5.

The Chinese women's team are skip Bingyu Wang, third Yan Zhou, second Jinli Liu, lead Jingyi Ma and alternate Xindi Jiang.

For skip Bingyu Wang and third Yan Zhou, qualifying for a third Olympic Winter Games was a special moment having also played in the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Games.

Q: How does it feel qualifying for the Olympics?

Wang: This is great. I feel very happy.
Liu: Exciting! This is my dream for four years [- Liu also competed at Sochi 2014] - Liu pictured above, © WCF / Richard Gray.
Ma: Nervous, this is my first opportunity at the Olympics.

Q Do you have nicknames within the team and what's the story behind them?

Liu: Lisa, it's just my English name, because my first name is Jinli, so Lisa is easy to say by my team.
Ma: Mama, my last name is Ma, it's not a common last name in China. Double words heard cute and easy for my teammates.
Zhou: Dazhou
Wang: Betty or Bing

Q What is your guilty pleasure?

Liu: I love movies, such as romantic movies.
Ma: I like shopping, it can make me relax.
Zhou: I eat too much.
Wang: I like eating all the desserts.

Q What career would you have if you weren't a curler?

Liu: I think I will be a coach for a team.
Ma: Actually, I have no idea now, because I will be a player for many years later. But maybe I will work for curling teams in the future.
Zhou: Foodie.
Wang: Broadcaster or Full-time mother.

Q: Who is the joker of the team and why?

Liu: Our lead Mama, she is the youngest player in our team and she is a lovely girl. She always shares some jokes with us. She always makes funny faces during our leisure time.
Wang: Zhou Yan [pictured below, © WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik]. She is very humorous, and she has a gift to make everyone happy.

Q: Who is the most serious member of the team and why?

Liu: Actually, nobody is serious in our team. We will share jokes, stories and snacks in our spare time. And we will cheer for others during games.
Ma: We will cheer up each other all the time. And, we act like sisters in our spare time.
Wang: It's me. I am always thinking.

Q: What do you do in your spare time to relax?

Liu: Stay with my family.
Ma: Reading books and watching movies.
Zhou: Stay with my family and watch movies, go shopping and eating outside.
Wang: Stay with my daughter, watch movies and go shopping.

Q: Greatest achievement as a rink and tell us a bit about it.

Liu: Winning the Olympic Qualification Event in Pilsen, Czech Republic. It was an unforgettable and nervous game for our team. It was a cold rink but with a higher enthusiasm of audience. We train outside during the whole year. Every team is great, so we take every game seriously. Finally, we get the final ticket to Winter Olympics. It's the best gift of this year for our team.

Q: What team do you have the most fun with on and off the sheet?

Liu: Team Dupont, with sisters Dupont (Denmark). They are lovely and hard working.
Ma: Team Kubeskova (Czech Republic). A funny and hardworking team.

In the run-up to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea we celebrate the success of the curling qualifiers heading to the Games in (8-25) February and (9-18) March.

In recent weeks and months, we have been speaking to the athletes that have been selected or qualified to represent their Member Association in the Gangneung Curling Centre.

To follow the build-up to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #Roadto2018 #curling

by Michael Houston, feature writer