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S. Korean Lee Sang-hwa takes silver at speed skating worlds

All Headlines 18:08 February 10, 2017

By Yoo Jee-ho

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Olympic speed skating champion Lee Sang-hwa claimed the silver medal in the women's 500m at the world championships here Friday.

Lee finished second among 24 skaters with a time of 37.48 seconds at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships at Gangneung Oval in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. Some 230 kilometers east of Seoul, the new arena is hosting its first international competition as a test event for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Lee, the two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion in the 500m, has struggled all season with a calf injury. She has gone winless in five ISU World Cup events this season, but picked up her seventh career world championships medal with a strong effort.

Nao Kodaira of Japan, who has gone undefeated in six World Cup races this season, won the gold in 37.13 seconds, her new personal best and the Japanese national record.

Yu Jing of China took third place at 37.57.

Friday's result bodes well for Lee's chances at the Asian Winter Games starting next week in Sapporo, Japan. Lee, who still holds the 500m world record with 36.36 seconds, will again have to contend with the likes of Kodaira and Yu.

Two other South Koreans finished out of medals, as Park Seung-hi, former Olympic short track champion competing in speed skating, ranked 18th at 38.52 and Kim Min-sun finished in 15th in 38.43.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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