Cross-country skier Lee Chae-won wins silver in women’s mass start

SAPPORO, Japan-- Cross-country skier Lee Chae-won grabbed silver in the women's 15-kilometer free mass start at the Asian Winter Games on Sunday.

Lee finished her race in 43:32.5 at Shirahatayama Open Stadium, finishing 3.9 seconds back of the champion, Yuki Kobayashi of Japan.

This was Lee's third medal in Sapporo, following silver in the 10km free and bronze in the 4x5km relay.

At 35, Lee was the oldest cross-country skier for South Korea, male or female. She said her conditioning wasn't an issue but her nagging ankle injury slowed her down at the end.

"I almost caught (Kobayashi) toward the end but came up just short," Lee said. "It's just a shame that my ankle was hurting so much. I expected a lot out of myself today because this was the final race."

Lee attributed her improved conditioning to extra training in high altitudes, and despite being at an age when most others are contemplating retirement -- if they haven't retired already -- Lee said she's looking forward to the 2018 Winter Olympics, to take place in her hometown of PyeongChang.

"I've done well in recent competitions, and I feel much better compared with last year or even the year before," she said. "I'll go back to Korea to get into one more domestic event and then start preparing for the Olympics."

Later Sunday, Kim Magnus finished seventh in the men's 30km free mass start with the time of 1:24:18.6. He ended his first Asian Winter Games with three medals -- gold in 1.4km sprint class, silver in 10km classic and bronze in 4x7.5km relay.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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