South Korea opens short track World Cup in style in Budapest

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-01 10:22:08|Editor: liuxin
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BUDAPEST, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- South Korea started their World Cup campaign in style, bagging three of the four gold medals up for grabs on the first day of the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track at the BOK Hall in Budapest, Hungary.

The 2015 overall world champion Choi Min Jeong (KOR) dominated the ladies' events side, winning both the 1500m and 500m.

However, the big home hope for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games claimed she is still far from her best shape.

"I felt a lot of pressure and I think that I'm not ready for it (PyeongChang 2018) yet," Choi said after the 1500m win.

"I am a bit more relaxed after winning but I think that my condition is now only 60 per cent of what it should be."

Kim Boutin of Canada stayed in the top-two throughout the whole 1500m final and Deanna Lockett (AUS) won bronze after a penalty on Shim Suk Hee of South Korea.

"It's my first-ever World Cup medal so it's always going to be really exciting. I've been waiting for this for a long time," Lockett said.

Shim came back to take bronze in the women's 500m, Arianna Fontana (ITA) claiming silver.

"I didn't feel that I'm 100 percent ready to race and in particular the 500 is really hard for me right now, so my goal was to follow someone for one or two laps and pass before the Koreans were coming," the Italian said.

The South Koreans, taking seven of the 12 podium positions available on Saturday, started the men's competition with a gold and a silver in the 1500m event.

Lim Hyo Jun won ahead of compatriot Hwang Dae Heon, while the distance's world record-holder Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands was forced to settle for a bronze medal.

"I think that we have a strong team this season. I did a good job because my teammates helped me out. I'd like to say thank you to the other members of the team," silver medalist Hwang said.

The duo were back on the podium after the men's 500m final, also then Lim ahead of Hwang. However, home favorite Shaolin Sandor Liu won the gold medal - and the biggest cheers - as he came back from missing out on a medal in the 1500m.

"It felt really good in front of the home crowd. They were really loud, surprisingly, really nice and made me feel really good. I saw the medals at a press conference and I really wanted to get one, so I was working for that," Liu said.

"I was a little bit down after the 1500m but I was there with my head and put the race together.

Liu's girlfriend, world champion Elise Christie, had a tougher day. The British favorite injured her front thigh muscles and hip flexor in Thursday's competitions, and could finish only in fourth in the 1500m and missed the Final A in the 500m.

"I've been skating really strong this summer, training on the longer distances, but then I got this injury on Thursday and my performances haven't really been the best," Christie said.

"My teammates are saying, 'You came fourth in the world, a lot of people would be happy with that', but I find it hard to go out and compete and not be able to produce what I feel that I'm capable of."

"I know that when it repairs I will be stronger. At the Olympics I won't have this problem because I'll be far more rested."

The Audi ISU World Cup Short Track in Budapest continues on Sunday with finals in 1000m and relays.