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Cross-country skier eyes gold at Asian Winter Games

All Headlines 15:28 January 18, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- Cross-country skier Kim Magnus said Wednesday he aims to win a gold medal at the Asian Winter Games next month and finish inside the top 20 at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics next year.

Kim, born to a Norwegian father and a Korean mother and competing under the South Korean flag, won two gold medals at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. He returned to South Korea from overseas training on Wednesday to compete at the Seoul International Cross-Country Competition. The International Ski Federation (FIS)-sanctioned event starts on Friday at a special course designed at a riverside park in downtown Seoul.

"This is a good opportunity to promote cross-country to people," Kim said at a press conference in Seoul. "I want many people to visit and watch the event."

Kim will race in a special 100m sprint event before entering the main competition on Saturday. The 18-year-old, however, said he isn't perfectly fit for the Seoul event.

"I'm currently focused on the Asian Winter Games," he said. The eighth edition of the continental competition will be held in Sapporo, Japan, from Feb. 19.

Kim said he will have a tight schedule in South Korea before flying to Japan. After completing the Seoul competition this weekend, he will race at a FIS Cross-Country World Cup in PyeongChang, a test event for the 2018 Winter Games, and the National Winter Sports Festival in Gangwon Province.

"I heard many top class skiers will not compete at the test event because it is held just before the World Championships," he said. "So, I think I can have a good result in PyeongChang."

Kim said it is difficult to determine what to expect in his performance at his maiden Asian Games, but he does aim for gold.

"It will depend on how many top class athletes will be at the Asian Games, but I aim for the gold medal," he said.

Kim, whose Norwegian name is Magnus Boe, last year decided to compete for South Korea in a bid to help the sport's development in the country. The native of Busan, a port city 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul, said considering his age, it will be great for him to finish inside the top 20 at the PyeongChang Games.

"Winning a medal at the PyeongChang Games is more like a dream than a goal," he said. "But I'm preparing myself to not make unaccepted mistakes there."

Kim, who can also compete in the biathlon, said he focused on improving his physical strength during the offseason. The skier said he will be able to concentrate more in his training programs after graduating high school in June.

"Cross-country is a sport that has a big home field advantage, so I think we can do well at the PyeongChang Games," he said. "But it's a pity that the course was completed this season and we don't have enough time to take advantage of it."

Cross-country skier Kim Magnus speaks during a press conference at a Seoul hotel on Jan. 18, 2017. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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