Choi Min-jeong wins gold in women's 1,500 meters
Short track speed skater Choi Min-jeong won the women's 1,500-meter gold medal on Wednesday at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing after setting a new Olympic record in the semifinal race.
After leading the pack for most of the final race, Choi crossed the finish line with a time of 2:17.789 to defend her 2018 PyeongChang title.
Choi started in the inner lane and immediately took the lead, with countrywoman Lee Yu-bin following behind. About a third of the way into the race, Han Yutong of China started a surprise sprint to try and take an early lead, but failed and fell back behind Choi within a couple of laps.
Choi was able to hold onto that lead until the very end. Lee finished sixth with a time of 2:18.825.
Choi now has three medals at the Beijing Games, after winning silver in the women’s 1,000 meters last Friday and in the 3,000-meter relay on Sunday.
En route to the finals, three Koreans had competed in the women’s 1,500-meter event. Alongside Choi and Lee, Kim A-lang earned a place in the semifinals but finished fourth and failed to earn a spot in the finals with only the top two skaters advancing.
Choi and Lee both reached the finals after topping their semifinal heats.
Choi raced alongside six other contenders in the semifinals, pulling off an incredible comeback to take first place in the last lap from the middle of the pack, comfortably earning a spot in the finals and setting a new Olympic record of 2:16.831, beating Chinese skater Zhou Yang’s record of 2:16.993 set in 2010.
Choi now holds both the Olympic and world records in the women's 1,500 meters. Choi’s world record of 2:14.354 was set in November, 2016.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [email@example.com]