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(LEAD) Host S. Korea shut out of gold in Day 1 of short track worlds

All Headlines 18:52 March 12, 2016

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; ADDS comments in paras 6-8)

SEOUL, March 12 (Yonhap) -- Host South Korea was shut out of gold medals on the first day of the short track world championships on Saturday.

Choi Min-jeong finished second in the women's 1,500 meters at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Short Track Speed Skating Championships at Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul.

Choi, the reigning world overall champion, finished her race in 2 minutes, 37.073 seconds. Marianne St-Gelais of Canada claimed the gold in 2:36.844.

Choi started the race in the middle of the pack. With three laps remaining, she tried to move out in front but collided with Fan Kexin of China, allowing St-Gelais to finish first.

Choi later finished fourth in the 500m.

Choi is in third place overall with 29 points, behind St-Gelais (55) and Fan (36). Though her title defense might be in jeopardy, the 16-year-old stayed positive.

"We're only halfway through the competition, and I can certainly come from behind," Choi said. "I won't give up until the very end. There's obviously some pressure that comes witih competing at home, but I was happy to see so many fans at the arena."

Choi is trying to become the first South Korean since Jin Sun-yu (2005-2007) to be a repeat world champion.

Her 1,500m silver was the best result by any South Korean on Saturday. In the men's competition, Park Se-yeong won the bronze in the 1,500m in 2:17.582. Han Tianyu of China won the gold in 2:17.355, followed by Liu Shaoang of Hungar in 2:17.470.

In the men's 500m, Seo Yi-ra finished fourth.

On Sunday, finals for the men's and women's 1,000m, women's 3,000m relay, men's 5,000m relay, and men's and women's 3,000m super finals will take place.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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