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14 February 2023, 09:30

Short tracker Park Ji-won crowned World Cup champion, grabs inaugural trophy


SEOUL, 14 February (BelTA -Yonhap News). - South Korean short track speed skater Park Ji-won has been crowned the men's overall champion of the 2022-2023 World Cup season.

Park finished the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating season with 1,068 points, easily outpacing compatriot Hong Kyung-hwan (674 points) for his second career overall title.

Park capped off his wildly successful World Cup season with three gold medals at the final stop in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, over the weekend. He won the 1,000-meter gold and anchored South Korea to the 5,000-meter relay title on Sunday (local time), a day after winning the 1,500-meter gold medal.

Each World Cup race victory is worth 100 points. Park grabbed 14 gold medals, winning at least one title at each of the six World Cup stops. For individual races, a maximum six results were considered for the overall rankings.

The ISU celebrated its 25th anniversary of the World Cup series by creating the Crystal Globe Trophy for the season champions. Park captured his first overall title in the 2019-2020 season and is now the inaugural winner of the new trophy.

Park, 26, hasn't been a household name in a short track powerhouse country with no shortage of stars on ice. He had been in the shadows of Hwang Dae-heon and Lim Hyo-jun, and Park watched the two win Olympic gold medals in 2018 and 2022 from afar after coming up short in national team trials.

Hwang is skipping this season after pulling out of last year's national team trials, while Lim is now competing for China as Lin Xiaojun. Park has crashed through that opening this season with the memorable World Cup run.

"I really wanted to get this first trophy and become part of short track history," Park was quoted as saying on the ISU's website. "I'm really proud I did it."

Park said he was also proud to be on top after being on and off the national team in recent years.

"I wanted to make a statement this year and show everyone I'm back," he said. "That's why I wanted to be the best in every race."

As for the big prize, Park said, "I'm going to keep the trophy by my side these days for sure. During breakfast, at night in my bed, it'll be with me."

Park can author a storybook ending to his 2022-2023 season at the world championships in Seoul next month.

"You know who the owner of the Crystal Globe is right? It's me. So let me tell you: I'm going to become the world champion next month," Park said.

On the women's side, Kim Gil-li was the top South Korean in the overall rankings at fourth with 700 points. Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands won the title with 1,062 points.

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