Jang Yeon-jae after winning gold medal. © Children of AsiaSports News
Date : 09 Feb 2019
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russian Federation, February 9, 2019: The next generation of South Korean short track speed skaters were unveiled on the opening day of competition at the 1st Children of Asia Winter Games as Korea won all six medals in the two 1,500m short track events on Saturday.
It was the perfect way for Korea to mark the first anniversary of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics opening ceremony on February 9, 2018.
Hong Joon-hwa led the Korean 1-2-3 charge in the young men’s 1,500m by winning the gold medal in a time of three minutes 18.689 seconds. Compatriot Lee Eun-jae took silver and Park Geoon-yeong won the bronze.
The Koreans dominated the podium in the girls' 1,500m race, too, with Jang Yeon-jae winning the gold, Kim Lee-hyeon the silver and Park Ha-yoon the bronze.
The Koreans have a proud history in the sport in Asia. They have dominated the medal standings in short track at the last six editions beginning from 1996 Harbin Games to 2017 Sapporo.
“I want to represent my country at the Asian Winter Games and hopefully the Olympics, too, one day. I’m very happy to have won this gold medal in these Games which are being held for the first time,” said Hong Joon-hwa, whose final powerful burst was enough to pip his teammates by just hundredths of a second.
Hong, like all Korean kids in this sport, are born and bred on the legend of the great Kim Ki-hoon, who won the first gold medal for South Korea at the Winter Olympics in short track at 1992 Albertville.
“Yes, of course I have heard of him. Everyone who is in short track knows about him and hopefully, one day, I can follow in his footsteps,” Hong said.
The boys' final was dominated by Koreans with four out of the six places filled by them. Two Kazakhstan athletes rounded up the final after the heats and semi-finals had culled the 33-strong field.
Athletes from India, Hong Kong and Thailand were gamely giving it a go against the powerful Koreans. They had no chance for Hong and company were keeping a date with destiny.
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