Skaters set to depart for final training in Canada

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Skaters set to depart for final training in Canada

With the Winter Olympics around the corner, Korea’s short-track and speed-skating teams are preparing for their final training session. The national teams are set to depart for Calgary, Canada, today as their final training stop before heading to Vancouver early next week.

The entire short-track team and the short-distance speed skaters are to train at the Olympic Oval, the speed-skating venue at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

The Oval has a 400-meter speed-skating track and a short-track training surface in the middle. Canadian, American, Japanese and other national skating teams are training at the Olympic Oval.

The speed skating short-distance events, the 500-meter and 1,000-meter, will run early in the Olympics, Feb. 16 to 19, Korea time. The team will arrive in Calgary tomorrow and after a final round of training will move to Vancouver on Feb. 8.

The speed-skating team has its hopes pinned on veteran Lee Kyu-hyeok, Lee Kang-seok and Lee Sang-hwa. Lee Kyu-hyeok is gunning for his first gold medal at his fifth and final Olympics.

“He is a veteran and this is his last opportunity,” said Baek Chul-gi, the director of the speed-skating team and head coach of the Uijeongbu City squad.

“He has put a tremendous amount of time into preparing for the Winter Games and he’s showing a lot of determination.”

The short-track team will depart for Calgary on Thursday and will leave for Vancouver on Feb. 9.

“We decided to train in Calgary because many national teams will settle in Vancouver for their final round of training. We were told the Korean national team would be allocated one hour of training per day in Vancouver,” explained the vice president of the Korea Skating Union, You Tae-ouk.

“The physical condition of our athletes is important, but the tight schedule of the skating events at the upcoming Winter Games is our biggest worry.”

By Jason Kim []
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