Injured speed skater commits to 3 races

OBIHIRO, Japan-- Injured South Korean speed skater Lee Seung-hoon said Sunday he has committed to three of the four races he's qualified for at the Asian Winter Games.

Lee, who recently injured his right leg, said he will enter the 5,000 meter, mass start and team pursuit at Obihiro Forest Speed Skating Oval in Obihiro, Japan, some 200 kilometers east of the main Asiad host city of Sapporo.

Lee has also qualified for the 10,000m, but he has yet to make up his mind on the longest race.

The 2010 Olympic 5,000m champion sustained his injury during the International Skating Union (ISU) World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in South Korea last week.

He cut his right leg with his own left skate as he dropped to the ice during the team pursuit race. The injury required eight stitches, and Lee had to withdraw from the mass start, where he's the world No. 1 this season.

After Sunday's practice, Lee said he's still not 100 percent.

"It's not too bad, but I am taking a cautious approach," he said. "So far in Japan, I've not trained as hard as I normally would."

Lee said he'd rather keep his focus on the mass start, his main event, and team pursuit. As for the 5,000m, Lee said he'd like to beat Japan for a change.

"This season, I've always had a Japanese skater or two finish ahead of me at ISU World Cups," Lee said. "It'll be difficult to win a gold medal here, but I'll give it a try."

Lee is ranked 21st in the World Cup standings in the 5,000m. Ryosuke Tsuchiya of Japan is the top Asian at No. 11, and he finished 15th in the 5,000m at last week's world championships, the highest finish by an Asian skater there.

The Obihiro rink has hosted several domestic and international competitions, including the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in 2010 and the opening competition of the 2014-2015 ISU World Cup Speed Skating season.

Lee won the mass start gold medal and the team pursuit silver at the World Cup at Obihiro.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

You may also like...