South Korean Skaters Excel in Early Rounds at ISU World Cup Short Track in Seoul

SEOUL - The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating, held in Seoul, witnessed South Korean skaters showcasing exceptional performances in its early stages on Friday. The event, unfolding at the Mokdong Ice Rink in Seoul, has seen the host nation's athletes dominating the competition with minimal upsets on the first day of this three-day sporting spectacle.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Kim Gil-li, a prominent figure in the women's category with a leading 615 World Cup points this season, triumphed in the first 1,500-meter race's quarterfinals (Heat 3) and subsequently secured a win in the second 1,500m race (Heat 1). The qualification process for the semifinals, which are scheduled for the weekend, involves the top three skaters from each of the six heats, plus the fastest fourth-place finisher.

In the men's category, Kim Gun-woo, the overall leader in World Cup points with 534, advanced to the semifinals in one of the 1,500m races by winning his quarterfinal heat. However, he faced a setback with a penalty in the second 1,500m quarterfinal heat. Park Ji-won, last season's men's World Cup champion, effortlessly moved through the quarterfinals in both 1,500m events.

Olympic gold medalist Hwang Dae-heon also made significant progress, smoothly navigating through the preliminary rounds in both the men's 500m and 1,000m events.

The team events also saw South Korea's prowess, with the women's 3,000m relay team and the men's 5,000m relay team both finishing first in their respective quarterfinal heats. The mixed 2,000m relay team, comprising two female and two male skaters, secured their place in the semifinals despite finishing second to the United States in their quarterfinal heat.

For the relay events, the top two teams from each of the four quarterfinal heats have advanced to the semifinals. These eight teams will be divided into two heats, with the top two teams from each proceeding to Final A, while the others will compete in Final B.

This year's World Cup Short Track in Seoul marks the first time in six years that the city has hosted this prestigious event. The competition is set to continue on Saturday with finals in the men's and women's 1,000m and 1,500m, along with the mixed 2,000m relay. Sunday will feature the second set of 1,500m finals for both men and women, finals for the men's and women's 500m, the women's 3,000m relay, and the men's 5,000m relay.

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