Short-track teams clean up at championships

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Short-track teams clean up at championships

Korea’s national short-track speed skating team capped off an impressive season by placing first in both the men’s and women’s competitions at the 2010 World Short Track Speed Skating Team Championships in Bormio, Italy, on Monday.

While the men’s team also placed first at last year’s event, the women’s team took the championship for the first time since 2007. It marked the first time in four years that both the men’s and women’s teams won the annual team championships.

The team wins followed victories last week by Lee Ho-suk and Park Seung-hi at individual world championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The members of the women’s team - Park, Cho Ha-ri, Kim Min-jung and Lee Eun-byul - each placed first in their respective groups in the 1,000-meter event. In the 500-meter event, Lee and Park placed first in their groups. The women’s team added a win in the 3,000-meter relay event to earn a total of 45 points, well ahead of second-place Canada, which ended up with 35 points.

The men’s team also battled the Canadians for first place, but here things were much closer. The men’s team entered the 5,000-meter relay trailing the Canadians by two points. The Koreans finished the relay with a time of 6 minutes 40.888 seconds to edge Canada by 1.86 seconds. With the win, Korea finished with 38 total points to best Canada by two points.

The team championships is an annual event in which eight of the top-ranked teams from the Short Track World Cup Series are invited to compete. Four skaters from each team compete in the 500-meter and 1,000-meter events, while two skaters from each team compete in the 3,000-meter event. The competition concludes with the team relay events.

Korea, Canada and China have fared well at the men’s event in the past, with Korea finishing first a total of seven times since 1991. Canada is the all-time leader at the event with eight total wins.

Korean women have won a total of 11 events since 1991 with a stretch in which the team won six consecutive titles between 2002 and 2007. China’s women’s team is the second most dominant squad, with six titles.

By Jason Kim []
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