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Aussie athletes set for Asian Winter Games

AAP logoAAP 22/12/2016 Glenn Cullen

Three-time Olympic snowboarder Holly Crawford will headline a largely developmental Australian squad at their first Asian Winter Games in February.

Veteran halfpipe rider Crawford, a 2011 world championship winner and top 10 Winter Olympics competitor, is among 30 Australians who'll participate at the Sapporo event.

Vancouver 2010 Olympian Ben Sim (cross country skiing), Brendan Kerry (figure skating) and Pierre Boda and Deanna Lockett (short track speed skating) are among the other athletes who have been to a Winter Olympics.

Otherwise it is a squad largely consisting of up-and-coming athletes who may yet push for a place at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea.

Sports in Sapporo include snowboard, freestyle skiing, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, biathlon, short track speed skating and figure skating.

"Our team we have selected for Sapporo 2017 features plenty of athletes on the rise that highlight the continued strengthening of winter sports in Australia," chef de mission Geoff Lipshut said.

"Australia's first foray into the Asian Winter Games will be a great test for our athletes against some strong competition and will potentially be a stepping stone towards Olympic competition."

Amongst those to keep an eye out for will be Cooper Woods-Topalovic, regarded as a future star in moguls skiing.

The eighth Asian Winter Games will be held from February 19-26 and involve five sports, 11 disciplines and 64 events.

Australia received an invite to the event for the first time.

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