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(LEAD) (Olympics) Short tracker Lim Hyo-jun leaps over injuries toward gold in men's 1,500m

2018/02/10 22:28

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(ATTN: ADDS Lim's quotes at the last 3 paras)

By Kang Yoon-seung

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korean short track speed skater Lim Hyo-jun, who suffered from a series of injuries, on Saturday proved that "never-give-up" spirit pays off by capturing gold at the men's 1,500 meter race at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Lim's rise above of the competition was not expected by many.

In a surprise move, he outperformed veterans of the men's short track speed skating team in the trials for the national team, such as Lee Jung-su, a double gold medalist at the 2010 Winter Games, and Park Se-yeong, a team mainstay since 2014.

What makes Lim's medal on Saturday even more significant, however, is the fact that the 21-year-old skater went through seven surgeries during his journey towards the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Lim was originally a swimmer, but switched to short track speed skating after hurting his tympanum.

The skater was on a roll until he broke his leg during his first year at middle school, which forced him to leave the ice for more than a year. Struggling to get back on track, he again slipped in high school and injured his ankle, which sidelined him for another six months.

Although Lim never received much spotlight until joining the national team, the newcomer won both the 1,000-meter and 1,500-meter titles at the first World Cup in Budapest last year.

"I was really exhausted and wanted to give up many times," Lim told Yonhap News Agency after winning the gold medal, when asked about his injuries.

"But people around me said never to doubt my capabilities. I always had that phrase in my mind when working out," the champion said.

"I came to this spot because I had a clear goal," Lim said, claiming that all other athletes suffering from injuries will end up earning good results if they endure to the end by keeping their eyes on their dreams.

South Korea's short track speed skater Lim Hyo-jun (L) performs with his teammate, Hwang Dae-heon (R), during the men's 1,500m race held at Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung, located 230 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap) South Korea's short track speed skater Lim Hyo-jun (L) performs with his teammate, Hwang Dae-heon (R), during the men's 1,500m race held at Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung, located 230 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr

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