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(Winter Asiad) S. Korea picks up four silvers, drops in medal race

All Headlines 18:41 February 21, 2017

By Yoo Jee-ho

SAPPORO, Japan, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea collected four silver medals in another action-packed day at the Asian Winter Games on Tuesday, while host Japan zipped past its regional rival with a big day on the ice.

South Korea also earned two bronze medals and now has six gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals.

Japan has overtaken the lead in the medal race, with eight gold, eight silver and seven bronze. Five of the gold medals came on Tuesday alone.

South Korea's first medal of Tuesday came from cross-country skiing, where Lee Chae-won grabbed the silver medal in the women's 10-kilometer free race at Shirahatayama Open Stadium.

South Korean cross-country skier Lee Chae-won drops to the snow after clinching the silver medal in the women's 10km free race at the Asian Winter Games at Shirahatayama Open Stadium in Sapporo, Japan, on Feb. 21, 2017. (Yonhap)

Lee was the defending Asiad champion in the race, but finished 24.4 seconds behind the gold medalist, Yuki Kobayashi of Japan. Lee admitted later to competing with lingering ankle pains.

Two more silver medals came from the speed skating oval in Obihiro, some 200 kilometers east of Sapporo. Lee Sang-hwa won silver in the women's 500 meters at Obihiro Forest Speed Skating Rink, with the time of 37.70 seconds. Lee was 0.31 second behind the gold medalist, Nao Kodaira of Japan, in her last Winter Asiad appearance.

The two-time reigning Olympic champion and the world record holder in the 500m, Lee walks away with two silver and one bronze medal in her Asian Games career.

South Korean speed skater Lee Sang-hwa waves to the crowd during the medal ceremony after taking silver in the women's 500m race at the Asian Winter Games at Obihiro Forest Speed Skating Rink in Obihiro, Japan, on Feb. 21, 2017. (Yonhap)

Moments later on the same ice, the trio of Kim Bo-reum, Park Ji-woo and Noh Seon-yeong won the silver medal in the women's team pursuit event. It gave Kim two silver medals in two days of speed skating action.

Japan won all four speed skating races held Tuesday: the women's 500m, 1,500m and team pursuit, and the men's 1,000m.

South Korea had been gunning for a gold medal sweep in short track speed skating, but settled for a silver in the men's 500m and a bronze in the women's 500m Tuesday at Makomanai Indoor Skating Rink.

Seo Yi-ra was the men's 500m runner-up, with another South Korean, Park Se-yeong, taking the bronze medal. Wu Dajing of China was the champion.

In the 500m, Choi Min-jeong got the bronze medal -- but not in conventional fashion.

Choi's teammate Shim Suk-hee competed in the Final A for the top four qualifiers from the semifinals, but she and Fan Kexin of China were both disqualified after getting tangled up during the final lap.

Zang Yize of China won the gold and Ayuko Ito of Japan got the silver. With no third place finisher in the Final A, Choi, who topped the Final B, was awarded the bronze instead.

With two more days of speed skating and one final day of short track remaining, South Korea is expected to add to the gold medal tally later in the week.

South Korean short track speed skaters Seo Yi-ra (L) and Park Se-yeong (R) pose with their silver and bronze medals on the medal podium, flanking the champion, Wu Dajing of China, at the Asian Winter Games at Makomanai Indoor Skating Rink in Sapporo, Japan, on Feb. 21, 2017. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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