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Beijing 2022 medalists pull out of domestic competition

Speed skater Lee Seung-hoon competes in the final of men's mass start in speed skating at the Beijing Olympics at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing last Saturday. (Yonhap)
Speed skater Lee Seung-hoon competes in the final of men's mass start in speed skating at the Beijing Olympics at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing last Saturday. (Yonhap)

Skating medalists from the recent Beijing Winter Olympics have withdrawn from the domestic winter sports competition starting this week, the sport's national federation said Thursday.

The Korea Skating Union (KSU) said speed skater Lee Seung-hoon and short tracker Lee Yu-bin have pulled out of the National Winter Sports Festival, which kicks off Friday.

Lee Seung-hoon won the bronze medal in the men's mass start in Beijing last week. Lee Yu-bin was a member of the silver medal-winning team in the women's 3,000m relay in China.

The former had signed up for the men's 1,500m, 5,000m and mass start at the national event, while the latter had entered the women's 500m, 1,000m and 3,000m relay.

Neither skater gave reasons for the withdrawal.

Hwang Dae-heon, the Olympic men's 1,500m champion, decided not to compete in the men's 500m, but will likely take part in the men's 1,000m on Friday.

Among other Beijing medalists, Choi Min-jeong, who won three short track medals, including gold in the women's 1,500m, did not register for the national competition. Kwak Yoon-gy, who anchored South Korea to silver in the men's 5,000m relay in short track, is also skipping the event.

Last year's Winter Sports Festival was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. A recent surge in new infections forced the organizers to scrap opening and closing ceremonies for this year's competition.

Speed skating races will take place in Seoul, and Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, 85 kilometers northeast of the capital, will host all short track events. (Yonhap)

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