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Short tracker reaches semifinals in women's 500 meters

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Published : 2014-02-13 19:22
Updated : 2014-02-13 20:36

South Korean short tracker Park Seung-hi advanced to the semifinals in the women's 500 meters on Thursday at the Sochi Winter Olympics, while her two male teammates moved on in the 1,000m.

Park was the only one among three South Koreans to survive the quarterfinals at Iceberg Skating Palace. Her teammates, Shim Suk-hee and Kim A-lang, came up short.

In the quarters, 16 skaters were paired into four groups of four, with the top two from each group advancing to the next stage.

Park finished atop the first group, while Kim ended third in the third group and Park finished last in the final group.

The semifinals will start at 3:10 p.m. here (8:10 p.m. in South Korea), followed by the finals at 4:05 p.m. (9:05 p.m. in South Korea). Park is trying to win South Korea's first short track medal in Sochi.

South Korea has won 19 gold medals in short track since it became an Olympic sport in 1992, more than any other country, but has grabbed only one bronze medal, by Chun Lee-kyung in 1998, in the women's 500m.

The competition in Sochi is wide open thanks to the absence of Chinese star Wang Meng, the two-time reigning Olympic champion in 500m and world record holder who is missing in action with a broken foot.

Later on Thursday, Sin Da-woon and Lee Han-bin made it out of the heats in the men's 1,000m.

In the heats, 32 skaters were divided into eight groups of four, with the top two skaters from each reaching the quarters.

Sin finished second in the seventh group and Lee finished atop the final group.

The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will all take place on Saturday.

Viktor Ahn of Russia, the bronze medal winner in 1,500m from Monday, also qualified for the quarterfinals. Born Ahn Hyun-soo in South Korea, the 28-year-old became a Russian citizen in 2011. He won three Olympic gold medals and five world overall championships for South Korea, and is now seeking the first Olympic short track gold for his adopted country.

Sin and Lee are trying to bounce back from their disappointments in the 1,500m on Monday. They were first and second in their semifinal race with two laps left, when Sin skated into a rough patch and fell, tripping up Lee trailing behind him.

Sin was relegated to the B final. Judges awarded Lee a spot in the medal round on the grounds that he'd been interfered with in the semis, but he ended up in sixth place among seven skaters in the final.

Sin and Lee will later join their teammates for the semifinals of the 5,000m relay against the Netherlands, the United States and Kazakhstan. The top two countries will reach the final. The other relay group will feature Italy, China, Russia and Canada. (Yonhap)

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