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Clean sweep: South Korea aces short track opener

Winter Games 20 January 2023

There was not a single thing other nations could do to deprive South Korea of the six podium spots on the first day of the short track speed skating competition at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games, which featured the men’s and women’s 1500m races.

For the first international race at the refurbished 1932 Jack Shea Arena in the Olympic Center, on Friday, Choi Min-jeong (women) and Kim Tae Sung (men) led the way and won their first gold medals of the Games.

Choi Min-jeong, a 24-year-old from Yonsei University, ended her 13-and-a-half-lap final with a time of 2:40.301 to edge teammates Kim Geon-hee (2:40.382) and Seo Whi-min (2:40.530).

Choi Min-jeong was the absolute favourite of the race, having already won three Olympic gold medals and four world championship titles. She is also the world record holder on this distance, thanks to an amazing performance of 2:14.354 back in 2016 in Salt Lake City, also on American ground.

“There is something about this country that brings me good luck I guess,” she said after the race.

Choi Min-jeong’s smile only got wider once the Seoulite witnessed the perfect performance from the Korean men a few minutes after her own achievement.

With a time of 2:18.016 in the final, the 21-year-old Kim Tae Sung was closely followed by Lee Jeong-min (2:18.130) and Jang Sung-woo (2:18.164).

The Dankook University student and his compatriots truly made an impression on the near sold-out 1932 Rink crowd, especially by the way they seemed to work together on the ice. Once they set their rhythm, the rest of the field could do nothing but look at the back of the Korean uniforms ahead of them.

“I’m happy with the first gold, but I am already focused on other races and other medals,” a hungry Kim said after the race.

Even though he is more of a 500m specialist, his opponents are already warned: South Koreans will do everything they can to sweep all the podiums in short track in the next two days.

Written by Louis Gilles, FISU Young Reporter

We warmly thank FISU Official Partner Qiaodan Ltd. which provides remarkable uniforms to FISU Family and International Technical Officials since 2015. Qiaodan is a valuable partner for FISU as it continued to provide its support during the postponement of events due to the global pandemic, and recently extended the relationship with FISU up to and including 2025.