S. Korea ends World Cup Short Track season on mixed note

SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans grabbed two silver medals and one bronze to close out the fourth and the final World Cup Short Track competition of the season on Sunday in Russia, ending their prep event for the upcoming Winter Olympics on a mixed note.

In Kolomna, Russia, the women's quartet of Shim Suk-hee, Park Seung-hi, Kim A-lang and Cho Ha-ri claimed the silver in the 3,000-meter relay in 4:09.794, finishing just behind China (4:09.410).

In the semifinals on Sunday, South Koreans set a world record with a time of 4:06.215, breaking their own mark of 4:06.366 set during an earlier World Cup event last December. They failed to sustain the momentum, however, as their World Cup relay winning streak was snapped at three.

Shim, the 16-year-old sensation, crashed out of the semifinals in the 1,000m earlier Sunday. She had won the 1,000m in each of the first three World Cup events.

Kim, the only South Korean in the 1,000m final, took second place behind Arianna Fontana of Italy.

The men's relay team claimed third place in the 5,000m relay behind the United States and Russia. By reaching the final here, South Koreans booked their place in the relay at next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

No South Korean man reached the final in the 1,000m race also held on Sunday.

The final two legs of the World Cup served as Olympic qualifying events. Based on their results, South Korean women secured three spots in each of the 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m events. The men earned three slots in the 1,500m, and two spots each in the 500m and 1,000m.

Both men and women will enter relays in Sochi.

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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