Korea loses berth for Olympic sled

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Korea loses berth for Olympic sled

Korea’s two-man bobsled team lost its berth at the Vancouver Winter Olympics after Austria and Italy, both ranked above Korea, suddenly decided to send two teams instead of one to the games, the Korean team’s pilot, Kang Kwang-bae, said Tuesday.

Korea stands 19th in the global rankings after its national team finished 20th in the two-man bobsled World Cup in Italy last month.

Berths for the Olympics are given to the top 17 countries as determined by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation.

The federation said as recently as last month that Korea would have a place in the two-man bobsled event in Vancouver, as either Austria or Italy was expected to give up an Olympic spot.

But both European countries decided to compete, according to team pilot Kang.

“The FIBT notified me that our two-man team won’t have a berth at the Vancouver Winter Olympics,” said Kang, whose four-man bobsled team has already advanced to the games.

“Austria and Italy, which intended to send one team, suddenly changed their plans and will now send two.”

Japan, which ranks 18th in the two-man race, secured its own Olympic berth after Britain confirmed an earlier decision to sit out the event.

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