The Olympic champion Liu brothers, Sándor Shaolin and Shaoang, requested the consent of the Hungarian National Skating Association (MOKSZ) to start the process leading to their change of country.
According to MOKSZ’s information on Tuesday, the two short-track speed skaters did not name which country they wish to continue their careers for, and no national association has formally or informally indicated a request to MOKSZ for the athletes’ right to compete.
The Liu brothers announced in August that they would be preparing for the season in China, following their Chinese coach Lina Zhang Ching, who left the Hungarian national team.
MOKSZ pointed out that according to the rules of the international federation (ISU), if an athlete was previously a competitor of another country, 12 months must pass after the last ISU competition in which he competed on behalf of the former country. In addition, the athlete’s release must be decided by the association of the original country, provided that all contractual disputes between the association and the athlete must be settled. At its next board meeting, the Hungarian association will decide how to settle the competitive contractual relationship between the brothers and MOKSZ.
The two Lius indicated after the Beijing Winter Olympics that they would definitely like to continue training under the guidance of Zhang Qing Lina, the head coach of the national team. With the help of the Asian specialist, the men’s relay won Hungary’s first Winter Olympic gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, and this year in Beijing, Liu Shaoang made history with the first individual pentathlon triumph (500 meters).
“Unfortunately, at her request, we had to terminate her indefinite-term contract with Lina, given that she received an irresistible offer from the Chinese Federation for the position of head coach of the speed skating national team,” read the statement of MOKSZ, which highlighted that in the past period, MOKSZ ensured the training of the Liu brothers conditions with the Chinese national team and Lina in Beijing, this work was assisted on behalf of MOKSZ by Jae Su-chun, the South Korean coach of the Hungarian national team. This solution did not prove suitable for the brothers.
On Monday, the association informed the public media that the Liu brothers will not compete in the Alta Valtellina Trophy short-track speed skating competition in Bormio this weekend. The Hungarian short-track national team did not participate in the first and second rounds of the World Cup series, in Montreal and Salt Lake City, due to economic reasons.
“The Hungarian Olympic Committee cannot do anything in such a case, because the competitors are under contract with the federations and their clubs,” said Zsolt Gyulay, president of the MOB, to the current channel M1. – “The news did not come to me unexpectedly, because I spoke with the boys last week. It was possible to foresee that something was not going well in this case, since their coach, Lina, left Hungary, and they wanted to follow her”.
The sports manager indicated that he offered his help to possibly mediate between the parties. He added that MOKSZ has done everything, but it is probably difficult to compete with China, and the competitors are very attached to the personality of the coach.
“It’s no secret, we really expected them at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan. They have enormous potential, which can be measured in medals. But the truth is that this is their decision, and if they have decided this, then there is nothing we can do. We are definitely very we are proud of them and thank them for what they have done for Hungary, skating, and the Olympic movement,” said Gyulay, who believes that the Liu brothers represent a such class that it will be difficult to replace.
The 26-year-old Liu Shaolin Sándor, in addition to the five-ring gold and bronze, won twice at the World Cup and six times at the European Championships.
His younger brother Liu Shaoang, who is two years younger, also born in Budapest, won two gold and two bronze medals at the Olympics and is also a six-time world and four-time European champion.