speed skating-World Cup title

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korean speed skater Lee Sang-hwa on Sunday was crowned the women's overall champion in 500 meters at the Speed Skating World Cup.

At the Speed Skating World Cup Final in Heerenveen, Netherlands, Lee won the 500m race with a time of 37.77 seconds, edging out Wang Beixing of China by 0.01 of a second.

The victory gave Lee 150 World Cup points for a season-total of 1,055, the best score among all 500m female skaters this season. Lee is the first South Korean to win the World Cup overall title in any distance.

In the speed skating season, skaters are awarded 100 points for a World Cup victory and 150 points for a win at the World Cup final. Lee has won eight 500m races on the World Cup circuit this year for 800 points before the World Cup Final, giving herself a sizable lead over her rivals. Earlier on Saturday, she had placed third in her first 500m race.

Lee, 24, capped off a successful World Cup season, during which she also set the 500m world record with 36.80 seconds. Her next international event will be the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Sochi, Russia, from March 21 to 24.

Lee won the 2010 Winter Olympics gold medal in 500m and appears to be the favorite to repeat at the next Winter Games in Sochi next year.

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