SEOUL, 3 March (BelTA -Yonhap News). - Having put on a dominant showing throughout the season, South Korean speed skater Kim Min-sun will try to put the icing on the cake with her first world title this week in the Netherlands.
Kim will compete in the women's 500 meters at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Speed Skating Championships, beginning at 8:53 p.m. Friday in Heerenveen, or 4:53 a.m. Saturday in Seoul time.
Kim has been the world's top sprinter this season, having swept up five out of six ISU World Cup titles in the 500m. She won the first five World Cup races before finishing in second place in the final World Cup stop last month. She also sprinkled in a gold medal from the ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships in December, and the World Cup season finale is the only international race Kim didn't win so far this season.
Kim hasn't even cracked the top 10 at world championships in her career but will arrive in the Netherlands as the prohibitive favorite.
The world championships will be held at Thialf, which also hosted the second World Cup of the season in November. Kim won the gold then in 37.21 seconds, with her biggest rival of the season, Vanessa Herzog of Austria, taking the silver in 37.48 seconds.
Herzog foiled Kim's bid for a World Cup title sweep in Poland last month, and Kim will try to return the favor this time.
Erin Jackson of the United States, the 2022 Olympic 500m champion, and Jutta Leerdam of the Netherlands, who grabbed one silver and three bronze in five World Cup starts this season, are considered other medal contenders.
On the men's side, sprinter Kim Jun-ho and mid- to long-distance specialists Chung Jae-won and Lee Seung-hoon will represent South Korea.
Kim won the men's 500m World Cup title in December and added two other silvers out of five starts. He finished fourth overall in the World Cup standings.