South Korea aims to score medals over weekend holiday

SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN) - With the Lunar New Year holiday weekend starting Thursday, South Korean Olympians aim for medals in skeleton, short track and speedskating.

South Korea aims to clinch more medals over the long Lunar New Year holiday weekend at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, ranging from skeleton to short track and across speedskating.

Skeleton slider Yoon Seong-bin, a strong favorite to win a medal, will compete in the men’s first and second heats alongside teammate Kim Ji-su at 10 a.m. on Thursday at Alpensia Sliding Center in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province. If he passes through, he will continue his run in the heat 3 and 4 at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

In speedskating, 2010 Vancouver Olympic gold medalist Lee Seung-hoon will race in the men’s 10,000 meters event at Gangneung Oval.

In the men’s 5,000 meters speedskating in the coastal city of Gangneung on Sunday evening, Lee came in fifth place at 6 minutes, 14.15 seconds, a result he described as “satisfactory.” The 10,000-meter champion at the 2010 champion will compete in the 10,000, team pursuit and mass start at PyeongChang.

Short track speedskating, a discipline South Korea has been traditionally strong at, is expected to produce some medals, including gold. The national women’s team of Choi Min-jeong, Shim Suk-hee and Kim A-rang will take part in the 1,500-meter race Saturday. Choi, who was disqualified after a second-place finish in the women’s 500 meters final on Tuesday, will attempt to regain her glory as the favorite in the final Saturday evening in Gangneung.

Shim, a Sochi silver medalist in 2014, will strive to do one better, as Kim, who has risen to world ranking No. 6, also looks to get on the podium.

The South Korean men’s short track team of Lim Hyo-jun -- who won the nation’s first gold medal in the men’s 1,500-meter short track speedskating event -- Seo Yi-ra and Hwang Dae-hun will compete in the 1,000 meters final at 9:24 p.m. on Saturday, following the women’s competition.

On Sunday evening, speedskating star Lee Sang-hwa, a two-time Olympic champion, will aim for her third Olympic gold medal in the women’s 500 meters. Lee skipped the women’s 1,000 meters Wednesday to focus on the Sunday event. Joining Lee in shooting for a medal will be her teammates Park Seung-hee and Kim Hyun-young.

Team South Korea has expressed its ambition to win four to five medals over the weekend, which would likely place it within the top four in overall rankings.

Cha Joon-hwan, the nation’s rising male figure skater, coached by Canada’s Brian Orser, will attempt to break into the top 10 in the men’s single skating short program Friday morning, followed by free skating the next day at 10 a.m.

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