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Youngest figure skating champion allowed to train at nat'l team venue in special exemptions

All News 22:09 January 17, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- The youngest South Korean figure skating champion will be allowed to train at the national team venue as part of special exemptions granted to the underage athlete, the sport's officials said Sunday.

You Young, who captured the national ladies' singles title at age 11 last week, lost her national team status under a new Korea Skating Union (KSU) rule that only those born before July 1, 2003, are eligible to represent the country. You, who was born in May 2004, was no longer allowed to work out at the National Training Center in Seoul, and was forced instead to schedule her practices at a public rink near her home in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province.

Facing mounting pressure from the public eager to see the new prodigy -- hailed as the second coming of Olympic champiion Kim Yu-na -- train in better conditions, the KSU decided on Sunday to provide You with national team benefits.

The KSU also said You will be able to practice with national team trainers and choreographers, and receive the same medical support as the national team skaters.

"We will come up with more specific training plans to support and develop prospects like You Young," the KSU said. "We'll also consider providing scholarships and other financial support for such athletes."

You dazzled her way to the top of the national championship podium at 11 years and eight months, breaking the previous record for the youngest champion held by Kim Yu-na, who won the 2003 title at 12 years and six months and went on to capture an Olympic gold and two world titles.

Kim said You is better than she was at that age and that the teenager could become much better "if she keeps working on her fundamentals and avoids injuries."


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