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S. Korean prospect finishes fifth at speed skating sprint worlds

All News 20:45 February 28, 2016

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korean prospect Kim Tae-yun finished fifth at the premier speed skating sprint competition on home ice Sunday.

The 21-year-old was the top homegrown skater at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Sprint Speed Skating Championships at Taereung International Skating Rink inside the National Training Center in Seoul.

At the sprint championships, skaters compete in two 500m and two 1,000m races over two days. Their combined times are then converted to points using the samalog system, in which the points for the 500m are equal to the race time in seconds, and the points for the 1,000m are the time in seconds divided by two. The skater with the lowest total points is the winner.

Kim had 140.660 points after two days, finishing 1.42 points behind Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia, who successfully defended his title.

On Sunday, Kim ranked eighth in the 500m at 35.23 seconds and eighth in the 1,000m at 1 minute, 10.37 seconds. Prior to the competition, Kim -- dubbed the "next Mo Tae-bum" after the 2010 Olympic champion in the men's 500m -- said his goal was to crack the top five here before home crowds.

Kulizhnikov defeated Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands by 0.75 points to become the first Russian man to win back-to-back sprint titles since Sergey Klevchenya in 1996-1997.

One other South Korean, Kim Jin-su, ended in 10th place at 141.335 points.

In the women's race, Park Seung-hi was the top South Korean in 21st place at 158.345 points. Two more South Koreans immediately followed her, with Kim Hyun-yung in 22nd and and Kim Min-sun in 23rd with 159.120 points and 161.525 points.

Brittany Bowe of the United States captured her second straight sprint title at 151.595 points. She'd ranked third after Saturday's races, but posted the fastest times in both the 500m and the 1,000m on Sunday to take the gold. She is the first woman to successfully defend the sprint world title since Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt of Germany won three straight championships from 1999 to 2001.

Fellow American Heather Richardson-Bergsma, the 2013 champion who led after Saturday, settled for silver, 0.35 point behind Bowe. Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands took the bronze with 152.340 points.

South Korean Lee Sang-hwa, the world record holder in the 500m and two-time Olympic champion in the distance, was absent this weekend after losing her national team status by skipping the national sprint championship in December.


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