Choi Da-bin lands Olympic spots

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Choi Da-bin lands Olympic spots


Choi Da-bin skates her free program at the World figure skating championships in Helsinki, Finland on Friday. [AP/YONHAP]

Korean figure skater Choi Da-bin has secured two spots at next year’s Winter Olympics with a strong finish at the world championships.

Choi posted a new personal best score of 191.11 points at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki on Friday (local time). After earning 62.66 points in the short program, Choi added 128.45 points in free skate to reach No. 10 overall. Both the short program and free skate scores were also Choi’s new personal records.

With that result, Choi has clinched two spots for Korea in the ladies’ singles at the PyeongChang Winter Games. Skaters finishing in the top two at the world championships bring home three Olympic tickets, while those finishing from third to 10th each earn two Olympic berths for their countries.

By breaking her previous personal record by 8.70 points, Choi, 17, now owns the second-highest score by a Korean female skater, after the 228.56 points by former Olympic champion Kim Yuna.

“I am pleased to exceed my own expectations,” Choi said. “Before the short program, my goal was to earn one Olympic spot. I struggled early in the season, but I am really happy to end the season on a high note.”

To the sound track of the film “Doctor Zhivago,” Choi executed a clean triple lutz-triple toe loop combination at the start.

Following a flying camel spin and step sequence, Choi landed a triple toe loop, followed by a triple lutz-double toe loop-double loop combination.

Choi also had a clean triple salchow and a double axel.

Choi has been on a roll this spring. In February, she finished fifth at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Korea with the then-personal best score of 182.41 points. She broke that mark with 187.54 points to win the gold medal at the Sapporo Asian Winter Games later in February.

Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia captured her second straight world championship in Finland with 233.41 points, breaking her own world record by 3.70 points.

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