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Park Seung-Hi, left, and Shim Suk Hee at the post-race press conference on Tuesday.
Korean women end China’s short track rule

18 Feb 2014
Sochi, Russia: Korea’s women’s short track team ended the domination of China at the Winter Olympics by winning a fiercely fought 3000m relay final at the Iceberg Skating Palace on Tuesday afternoon. Up against Canada, China and Italy in the final, the Koreans roared home in 4 minutes, 09.498 seconds thanks to a sensational overtaking move on the outside by 17-year-old Shim Suk Hee on the last lap past China’s Li Jianrou.

China, who won all four women’s short track titles in Vancouver 2010 and the first two of the four-event programme in Sochi, thought they had taken silver but were disqualified. This allowed Canada to move up to the silver medal position with a time of 4:10.641 and Italy from fourth to third and the bronze medal in 4:14.014.

In similar circumstances four years ago, Korea thought they had won the gold medal in Vancouver, only to be disqualified after the race. Now it was the turn of China, as Zhou Yang was penalised for impeding skaters behind her on an exchange.

Korea’s team of Cho Ha-Ri, Kim Alang, Park Seung-Hi and Shim Suk Hee won their country’s second gold medal of Sochi 2014 and only their fourth medal of any colour following their 14 medal haul, including six gold, at Vancouver 2010. “We did not win this gold medal for eight years,” said Park. “Four years ago we were not able to win a medal and during the past four years we have trained hard and tried our best not to make any mistakes. Our training has been rewarded.

“This is our first gold medal here in short track so we are happy to share it. We had great support from other athletes today and they even made a placard, so this helped us in the race.”
Comparing this occasion to four years ago, Park said she had no concern this time about a possible penalty because she was sure they had finished in first place.

“I was in tears because this has been a big burden for us,” she added. Regarding the Chinese team, Park said: “I feel for them. They will have another opportunity four years later so I hope to have a good competition with them in another four years’ time.”
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