S. Korea secures multiple spots in Olympic short track events

SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korean men and women have secured multiple spots in individual short track races at next year's Winter Olympics.

At the fourth leg of the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Short Track held in Kolomna, Russia on Thursday, Noh Jin-kyu, Sin Da-woon and Lee Han-bin all reached the quarterfinals of the men's 1,500-meter race, each earning a spot at the Winter Games scheduled to open in Sochi, Russia, next February.

In the women's 1,500m event, Shim Suk-hee, Kim A-lang and Park Seung-hi also advanced to the quarterfinals to secure three Olympic berths.

Shim, Park and Cho Ha-ri made the quarters in the 500m to also win three Olympic berths.

In Sochi, 32 skaters will compete in the 500m and in the 1,000m, while 36 skaters are eligible in the 1,500m. Each country can send up to three skaters per race.

The World Cup season features four events, with the final two legs doubling as the Olympic qualifiers. The third leg was held in Torino, Italy, last week.

South Korean women have been in excellent form as of late, with Shim, the 16-year-old sensation, leading the way with three gold medals in the first and third legs of the World Cup, and two gold medals in the second leg.

The men, on the other hand, were shut out of gold medals in the second leg and earned just one title in the third leg. In the men's 500m Thursday, only Park Se-yeong qualified for the quarterfinals.

Preliminaries for the men's and women's 1,000m races, and heats for the men's 5,000m relay and the women's 3,000m relay are scheduled for Friday in Russia. The final World Cup competition will wrap up on Sunday.

South Korea leads all countries with 19 gold medals in Olympic short track competitions. The country has won 45 medals in Winter Olympics, and 37 of them have come from the short track.

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