Seo Yi-ra Claims Silver in Men’s 500m at ISU World Cup in Seoul

Seoul: In a remarkable return to competitive short track speed skating, South Korean athlete Seo Yi-ra clinched a silver medal in the men's 500 meters at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating. The event, held at Mokdong Ice Rink on Sunday, marked a significant milestone for Seo, as it was his first international individual medal since his retirement.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the 31-year-old skater, who had retired after withdrawing from the national team trials for the 2019-2020 season, made his comeback in the fall of 2022. Before this, Seo had been a coach but was inspired to return to the ice after watching his former teammates compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. His last individual World Cup medal was earned in the 2015-2016 season, and he last stood on the podium during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, where he secured a bronze in the men's 1,000m.

During his post-race press conference, Seo expressed his joy and relief at winning a medal after such a long hiatus. He acknowledged feeling nervous before the race but was satisfied with the outcome. Seo's return to competition, however, was not without its challenges. He admitted that initially, he regretted his decision to come back, as the rigors of competitive skating were more demanding than he anticipated.

The race for the gold was intensely close, with Seo leading with just two laps remaining. However, in a dramatic finish, Liu Shaoang of China overtook Seo in the final turn, narrowly winning the gold with a time of 41.196 seconds, while Seo finished a close second with a time of 41.205 seconds. Seo humorously shared that he celebrated at the finish line, mistakenly thinking he had won, due to the race's tight finish.

Seo's silver medal is not just a personal triumph but also a testament to his resilience and dedication to the sport of short track speed skating.

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