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Speed skaters shine on day two in Sapporo

Snowboarders and skiers lead the way, grab gold on the slopes
Feb 21,2017
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Choi Min-jeong and Park Se-yeong win the women’s and men’s short track speed skating 1500 meters race in at the Sapporo Asian Games on Monday. [YONHAP]
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Korea continues to win medals during the second day at the 2017 Sapporo Winter Asian Games.

With the PyeongChang Winter Olympics approaching in less than a year, Korean athletes continue to win medals at the Sapporo Asian Winter Games, the last major international competition before the Olympics.

Lee Sang-ho, alpine snowboarder, started the day by winning his second event in men’s slalom race with combined time of 1:16.09 after two races at Sapporo Teine.

Not only was he the first to win a gold medal for Korea, Lee also became the first athlete to win two events in this year’s Asian Games.

In the event, Kim Sang-gyum earned bronze at 1:17.42, but Choi Bo-gun, silver medalist in the giant slalom, finished fourth in the race. In women’s alpine snowboarding, Shin Da-hae won a bronze medal in the women’s slalom.

Following Lee’s win, cross-country skier Kim Magnus won Korea’s first Asian Games gold medal in cross-country ski in the men’s 1.4 kilometers sprint classic race with the time of 3:11.40.

Despite limited training time at the Makomania Indoor Ice Rink, Korea started off strong in short track speed skating as they captured two gold medals on Monday. They were given 70 minutes total in training over Saturday and Sunday.

In the women’s race, Choi Min-jeong took home gold in the 1500-meter race.

Choi finished the race at 2:29.416 by edging out Shim Suk-hee, the top female short track speed skater in 1500 meters. Shim won silver as she finished the race in 2:29.569.

Although Choi is considered as one of the world’s top short track skaters, Choi failed to capture gold in a 1500-meter race during the 2016/17 season. Choi performed better in the women’s 1000-meter event as she won two gold medals at the World Championships this season.

On the other hand, Shim’s runner-up finish in the 1500-meter race was quite a surprise since she is the world’s top ranked skater in the category.

The result of the men’s race was also a surprise as the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lee Jung-su won a bronze medal.

Park Se-yeong won the men’s 1500-meter race by finishing at 2:34.056.

Park has never won gold or silver in a 1500-meter race and has not won a World Cup race this season.

But Lee, on the other hand, has won two World Cup races this season. When compared to Park and Lee’s personal best in 1500 meters, Lee’s time of 2:08.646 puts him way ahead of Park’s personal best time of 2:12.698.

Both Park and Lee will compete in the 500-meter race on Tuesday for a chance to win another gold at the Asian Games.

Asian Games short track speed skating will continue today as the Makomanai Indoor Skating Rink is scheduled to host the men’s and women’s 500 meters, women’s 3000 meters relay semifinals and men’s 5000 meters relay semifinals races.

BY KIM HEE-SEON [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]