High fives for fab four as Republic of Korea clean up at short track

LAUSANNE, Jan 18 – The Republic of Korea dominated the first day of short track speed skating at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, winning the gold and silver medals in both the ladies’ and men’s 1000m events.

After Seo Whi Min and Kim Chanseo finished 1-2 respectively in the ladies’ final, Jang Sungwoo and Lee Jeongmin repeated the feat minutes later for gold and silver in the men’s at the Lausanne Skating Arena.

“I knew I had the ability to make a fast start and I used that well today,” said Seo, who took an early lead in the final and was never behind.

Silver medallist Kim said: “We are all good friends and we were all happy for each other winning medals today.”

In a hectic, action-packed session, skaters had to advance through heats, quarterfinals and semifinals to reach the medal finals.

Both Kim and bronze medallist Florence Brunelle (CAN) survived early-round crashes to advance to the final. Short track rules enable skaters to advance in special circumstances, such as when they have been taken out of the race by an opponent falling in front of them, as in Kim’s case.

“I was so lucky to get a silver medal,” Kim said after getting tied up with Barbara Somogyi (HUN) in the quarterfinals. “I felt OK after I fell but I thought there would be no advance [to the next round].”

Jang Sungwoo (KOR) and Lee Jeongmin (KOR) | Joe Toth for OISphotos.com
Jang Sungwoo (KOR) and Lee Jeongmin (KOR) | Joe Toth for OISphotos.com

In the men’s event, Jang and Lee placed 1-2 in the second semifinal before matching the result in the final. China’s Li Kongchao took bronze.

The only time the Korean pair looked vulnerable in the final was when Lee made an inside move on Jang near the end of the race, almost causing a fall.

“We are from the same country but we always compete hard against each other,” Jang said. “It’s a happy day to be first and second.”

OIS tc/pp/sg

By Olympic Information Service

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