Lee Hae-in 2nd in women's short program at figure skating worlds
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean figure skater Lee Hae-in ranked second in the women's singles short program at the world championships Wednesday, brightening hopes of bringing home the first medal from the annual competition in 10 years.
Lee scored a new personal best 73.62 points at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Kaori Sakamoto of Japan leads the way with 79.24 points heading into Friday's free skate.
Another Japanese skater, Mai Mihara, ranked third with 73.46 points.
Lee opened her clean program with a double axel and nailed a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination.
The 17-year-old sprinkled in elegant spins and step sequence, and added a flawless triple flip for her final jump.
Lee, who won the ISU Four Continents title in February, will try to become the first South Korean to win a world championships medal since her mentor Kim Yu-na captured gold in 2013.
Kim, the 2010 Olympic champion who retired after winning silver at the 2014 Winter Games, remains the only South Korean, male or female, to win a medal at the worlds. She never once missed the podium in her six world championships, winning two gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
Aside from Kim, You Young has had the best performance by a South Korean at the worlds, with her fifth-place finish last year.
Two other South Koreans competed in the short program Wednesday. Kim Ye-lim, bronze medalist at this year's Four Continents, fell trying to land her opening triple lutz en route to a disappointing 17th-place performance with 60.02 points. Kim Chae-yeon, 16, scored 64.06 points to rank 12th in her world championships debut.
U.S. military stages 'Elephant Walk' training with F-16 fighters
S. Korea slams N. Korea's planned satellite launch, warns of consequences
(LEAD) Japanese warship arrives in S. Korea for multinational WMD-interception naval drill
N. Korea open to high-level talks with Japan if Tokyo unshackled by past: vice FM
(LEAD) N. Korea notifies Japan of plan to launch satellite between May 31-June 11: Kyodo
S. Korea left seeking improvements after 4 pre-World Cup friendlies in June
Numbers show Ryu Hyun-jin's trouble limiting hard contact, generating whiffs
N. Korea's suspension from Olympics augurs ill for Seoul's peace efforts
S. Korean LPGA stars off-kilter with Tokyo Olympics nearing
N. Korea's withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics dampens hope for renewing inter-Korean sports cooperation