Short track skater Seo Yi-ra wins 500-meter gold at Gdansk World Cup

Seo Yi-ra, center, poses for a photo with Steven Dubois of Canada, left, and Lukasz Kuczynski of Poland after the men’s 500-meter race at the International Skating Union Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Gdansk, Poland on Saturday. [EPA/YONHAP]

Seo Yi-ra took gold in the men’s 500-meter race at the International Skating Union (ISU) Short Track Speed Skating World Cup on Saturday.  
At the race held in Gdansk, Poland, Seo finished in 41.451 seconds, surpassing silver medalist Steven Dubois of Canada by 0.016 seconds.  
Saturday’s gold medal makes Seo the first Korean to win gold in the 500 meters at this season’s ISU World Cup. It is Seo’s second gold at the tournament, having earned his first with Team Korea in the men’s 5000-meter relay on Feb. 11.
Seo’s two gold this season came after he made his return to the national team for the first time in six years. He retired after failing to earn a place in the national team for the 2019-20 season, but came out of retirement in 2021 and passed the national squad selection contest last year.  
The gold on Saturday is also his first time topping the podium in an individual discipline since his victory in the 1,000 meters in the 2015-16 season.
Seo came close to winning gold in the 500-meter race at the ISU World Cup event held in Seoul in December last year, but took silver instead with Liu Shaoang of China winning gold.  
“I am happy that I claimed victory after overcoming disappointment from the silver medal in the fourth event,” Seo was quoted as saying by the JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, on Sunday.  
An ISU World Cup season runs across multiple events over two calendar years, with this season consisting of six events running from October 2023 through February this year.  
Skaters earn points at each competition and the skater with the most points over a given distance at the end of the season becomes the winner in that distance.  
The skater with the most points overall at the end of the season also becomes the overall winner.  
Last season, Park Ji-won became the men’s overall champion and received the Crystal Globe — an award created in the 2022-23 season — with 1,068 points.  
Park has competed at this year’s World Cup and has won multiple medals, including a gold in the 1,000 meters in October last year.  
Seo, 31, has also won multiple medals on the international stage, including a bronze medal in the 1000-meter race at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
Although he missed the 2022 Beijing Olympics, he may still have a shot at the 2026 Milano-Cortina Olympics in Italy.  

BY PAIK JI-HWAN [[email protected]]

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