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Two-time world short track champ Choi eyes 4 golds at PyeongChang

All News 16:21 January 10, 2018

By Kim Boram

JINCHEON, South Korea, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- Two-time world short track champion Choi Min-jeong said Wednesday that she is trying to sweep all gold medals in the women's races at the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games on her home soil.

"I've been preparing to be in top form at the Olympics. I'm doing well, I think," Choi told reporters at a press call held at Jincheon National Training Center, 30 days before the Winter Games. "If there is a possibility (for four golds), it will be better for me to get as much as I can."

South Korean short track speed skater Choi Min-jeong speaks at a press conference in Jincheon on Jan. 10, 2018. (Yonhap)

The 19-year old is one of the main candidates for multiple golds in women's short track events, where South Korea has dominated for decades.

She won the overall championship title at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Championships in 2015 and 2016, and ranked first in the world in all three individual races -- 500, 1,000 and 1,500 meters -- while helping South Korea retain the top ranking in the 3,000m relay after the 2017-2018 ISU World Cup series.

Many also expect that Choi is powerful enough to win all four gold medals -- 500m 1,000m, 1,500m and 3,000m relay -- for the first time in the sport's history.

Choi is different from skaters who have collected golds in the 1,000m, 1,500m and 3,000m relay, but failed to reach the top of the podium in the shortest event.

At the 2006 Olympics, Jin Sun-yu won the 1,000m, 1,500m and 3,000m relay, but she was eliminated in the 500m quarterfinals.

"I'm working out to improve my technique and other things to show my best performance at the Olympics," said Choi, saying that she is excited to compete in her first Olympic Games.

Choi will be challenged by her teammate, Shim Suk-hee. A year older than Choi, Shim won three medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including gold in the 3,000m relay.

Shim will be a sentimental favorite at the Olympics as she was born in Gangneung, a sub-host city that will hold all the skating events during the Olympics.

"My major is the 1,500m event. I'm focusing on that," said Shim. "It would be good to have good results (of multiple golds), but I'm doing my best to show my everything on the Olympic stage with no regrets."

Other team members -- Kim A-rang, Kim Ye-jin and Lee Yu-bin -- also showed their determination to extend South Korea's dominance in short track speed skating.

"We will skate at our home. We are familiar with the environment. I think this will give us an edge," said Kim A-rang, 23, who is the eldest among the five-member national team. "If we do our best at PyeongChang as we have prepared, the best result will come to us."

South Korea's female short track speed skaters pose at a press conference in Jincheon on Jan. 10, 2018. (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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