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Short track World Cup champions eye more glory at world championships

By Yonhap

Published : Feb. 20, 2024 - 20:58

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South Korean short track speed skaters Park Ji-won (left) and Kim Gil-li pose for photos at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Tuesday, after returning home from Poland following the end of the International Skating Union World Cup Short Track Speed Skating season. (Yonhap) South Korean short track speed skaters Park Ji-won (left) and Kim Gil-li pose for photos at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Tuesday, after returning home from Poland following the end of the International Skating Union World Cup Short Track Speed Skating season. (Yonhap)

Having earned their big prizes during the World Cup season, South Korean short trackers Park Ji-won and Kim Gil-li said Tuesday they will pursue more medals at the upcoming world championships.

Park and Kim returned home from Poland on Tuesday, after being crowned the men's and women's overall champions for the 2023-2024 International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating season. They each received the Crystal Globe trophy for their effort.

Park, 27, claimed his second straight overall title with 1,071 points, 19 more than Steven Dubois of Canada.

Kim, 19, captured her first Crystal Globe after earning 1,211 points to finish 31 points ahead of Kristen Santos-Griswold of the United States.

The ISU began awarding the Crystal Globe to its World Cup overall points leaders last season.

Each individual race win was worth 100 points. Park won six gold medals at six World Cup stops, including the crucial 1,000-meter title at the season-ending event in Poland on Sunday. Kim led all female skaters with seven gold medals.

"I had set out to win my second Crystal Globe in a row, but I probably put too much pressure on myself. I didn't skate as well as I wanted to early on," Park told reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. "In the latter part of the season, my Plans B and C worked pretty well, fortunately."

Park needed to win the 1,000m final Sunday in Poland to put himself in a position to win the Crystal Globe. He went up against two teammates, Kim Gun-woo and Jang Sung-woo, and those two didn't simply let Park win the race.

Kim, in particular, pushed Park hard before settling for second place.

"We didn't talk about the Crystal Globe before the race," Park said. "Even if I had not won that race and missed out on the trophy, I would have felt it was all part of sports."

Now that he has accomplished one major goal for the season, Park will shift his focus to the next one: winning multiple titles at the world championships in the Netherlands next month.

"I won two gold medals at last year's world championships, and I will try to match that this year," Park said.

Whereas Park had to climb out of an early hole to win his Crystal Globe, Kim led the points race wire to wire. She got off to a strong start with two gold and two silver medals at her first two World Cup stops and never looked back.

"I am so proud of myself for winning the Crystal Globe, which was my biggest goal for the season," Kim said. "I think I've been getting better and better because I've been training with so many great skaters on our national team and then competing against accomplished skaters on the senior circuit."

Now in her second senior season, Kim said she still has room to grow.

"I don't think I am as speedy as some of the foreign skaters, and so I'd like to improve in that area," Kim said. "I'd love to win a gold medal at the world championships, too."