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S. Korea qualifies for every luge discipline at Sochi Winter Olympics

2014/01/09 10:40

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will be represented in every event in the luge competition at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia for the first time, the sport's national governing body said Thursday.

An official with the Korea Luge Federation said the International Luge Federation (FIL) has informed the South Korean governing agency that the country has qualified for the men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles and team relay events.

South Korea has sent athletes in the men's singles event in each of the past four Winter Games, starting with Nagano in 1998, but this is the first time the country has secured Olympic spots in all events.

Under the FIL's Olympic qualification rules, athletes must have earned enough world ranking points by Dec. 31, 2013, to qualify for Sochi. The FIL also reserved the right to reallocate unused quota positions to "next ranked qualified athletes" in each discipline, based on its review to ensure that the athletes' technical level and experience are "acceptable to FIL."

   Based on ranking points, only Kim Dong-hyun would have qualified for South Korea in the men's singles.

Officials here said the FIL granted South Koreans "wild card" entries in the women's singles and the men's doubles, so that all athletes can form a team for the relay event.

The qualification rules state that athletes entered in the relay event must also meet the minimum qualification standard for their individual disciplines.

South Korean officials added the FIL recognized the recent emergence of the South Korean relay team and that it wanted to expand the sport to different parts of the world by allowing more Asian countries to compete in the Olympics.

South Korea has excelled in team relay events in recent World Cups and ended 2013 ranking ninth in the world.

South Korea is expected to field its largest-ever Winter Games delegation in Sochi next month. Multiple qualifying spots are still open for bobsleigh and skeleton.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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