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(LEAD) S. Korean Kim Bo-reum wins mass start gold at speed skating worlds

2017/02/12 20:52

(ATTN: ADDS details, photo)

By Yoo Jee-ho

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Kim Bo-reum captured gold medal in the women's mass start at the ongoing speed skating worlds on Sunday.

Kim just beat out Nana Takagi of Japan to grab her first career title at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships at Gangneung Oval in Gangneung, Gangwon Province.

She won silver behind Ivanie Blondin of Canada last year.

In mass start, 24 skaters race around the 400m oval at the same time for 16 laps, with some physical contact -- intentional or accidental -- allowed. It brings tactical elements to speed skating, and plays into the hands of former short trackers like Kim, who is used to jostling for positions in tight space.

South Korean Kim Bo-reum celebrates her gold medal at the women's mass start at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships at Gangneung Oval in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap) South Korean Kim Bo-reum celebrates her gold medal at the women's mass start at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships at Gangneung Oval in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)

In mass start, race points are accumulated during the race. The first three athletes to cross the finish line end up on the podium. All other skaters are ranked based on points given out for the four sprints.

Kim ended up with 60 points, with Takagi earning 40 and Bergsma 20 points.

This was the second medal for host South Korea at these world championships. On Friday, two-time reigning Olympic champion Lee Sang-hwa won silver in the women's 500m.

Kim came into Gangneung as the ISU World Cup points leader this season, on the strength of two victories in four races.

The race began slowly with all skaters bunched up. Kim remained in the middle of the pack while others picked up speed to earn sprint points.

Halfway through the race, Guo Dan of China moved to first place, with Kim still in the back of the pack. The South Korean then came up to fifth with six laps remaining, and stayed there over the next couple of laps.

With two laps left, Nana and Miho Takagi, sisters from Japan, were in the lead, as Kim fought to establish her position. Then over the final stretch, a handful of skaters fell to the ice in a massive spill, and Kim and Nana Takagi emerged from the pack unscathed and started sprinting toward the finish line.

The South Korean kicked into another gear to beat the Japanese at the line.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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