South Korea's two leading short track speed skaters on Thursday won a prestigious award for local female athletes.
Shim Suk-hee and Choi Min-jeong were named co-winners for the grand prize at this year's MBN Women Sports Awards in Seoul. The annual award, hosted by local cable broadcaster MBN, and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation, was created in 2012 to honor female athletes in the country.
Previous winners include golfer Park In-bee, and archers Chang Hye-jin and Ki Bo-bae.
Both Shim and Choi are considered medal contenders in women's short track speed skating at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
South Korean short track speed skaters Shim Suk-hee (L) and Choi Min-jeong pose for a photo at the MBN Women Sports Awards at a Seoul hotel on Dec. 14, 2017. (Yonhap)
Shim, 20, and Choi, 19, produced three gold medals for South Korea at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, in February.
They also combined for 10 gold medals at the International Skating Union Short Track Speed Skating World Cups this season.
"I think I'm receiving this award on behalf of all female athletes who give their utmost efforts in various sports," Shim said. "The PyeongChang Olympics are less than two months away, and all national team athletes are working hard. We hope many fans can support us."
Choi said: "I think this award was given to me to work harder. With this award, I'll try my best to get good results at the PyeongChang Olympics."
Swimmer An Se-hyeon, who set the national record in the women's 200-meter butterfly event and finished fourth at the World Championships in July, and speed skater Kim Bo-reum, who topped mass start at the World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in February, also received awards for their achievements this year.
Golfer Ryu So-yeon, who had been at No. 1 in the world rankings and was the co-LPGA Player of the Year with Park Sung-hyun, received the top player award, while Choi Da-bin, who became the first South Korean to win gold in women's figure skating at the Asian Winter Games, was named the best young athlete.
Other winners include basketball coach Chun Ju-weon, who helped her club Woori Bank win five consecutive Women's Korean Basketball League titles and golfer Choi Hye-jin, who collected two wins on the domestic KLPGA Tour. (Yonhap)