Published : 2013-12-24 19:24
Updated : 2013-12-24 19:24
Speed skating world record holder Lee Sang-hwa is skipping this week’s national sprint championships, citing the need to take a breather during her preparation for the Olympic title defense, officials said Tuesday.
The Korea Skating Union said Lee has withdrawn from the national event, which opened in Seoul on Monday.
According to the KSU, the 24-year-old explained that she simply wanted a rest and that she is not suffering from any injury.
Lee owns the world record in the women’s 500 meters with 36.36 seconds and is considered a heavy gold medal favorite at the Sochi Winter Olympics next February. She won the 500 m gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
She set her first world record in January this year and then broke it three times in November.
During that month, however, Lee came down with a cold, and she skipped the second 500 m race during the fourth leg of the International Skating Union World Cup series earlier this month.
Her decision to sit out the national event puts into doubt her eligibility for the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships from Jan. 18-19 in Nagano, Japan.
Under its rules, the KSU will determine who gets to compete in Nagano based on results at the ongoing national event. (Yonhap News)