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China, S. Korea split medals in speed skating
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China rested a duo of established skaters but still made it even in medal collection against South Korea, as the Harbin Universiade speed skating competitions resumed Tuesday after a one-day break.

Without the host's top sprinter Yu Fengtong in the start list, the South Koreans dominated the men's 1,000 meters as Mo Tae Bum clocked one minute and 10.05 seconds to crown in the 37-man final and Lee Kang Seok took the bronze after timing 1:10.79.

The silver went to Konrad Niedzwiedzki, the 1,500m runner-up edged by Mo by just 0.10 seconds four days ago, as the Polish narrowly beat Lee on 1:10.42 after pairing the Korean on the track.

Later in the women's 5,000 meters, China's Dong Feifei and Fu Chunyan repeated their podium performance in last Saturday's 3,000m to finish 1-2 in the longest course of the long track speed skating events.

The double winner of the 1,500 and 3,000 meters, Dong, finished in seven minutes and 19.76 seconds for the title, while fellow Chinese Fu Chunyan, who won the first speed skating gold for China on Saturday, took the silver medal with a time of 7:20.38.

Luiza Zlotkowska of Poland, who raced the final pairing Fu on the track, was beaten to the third place on 7:20.43, narrowly missing a better place.

China's No. 1 speed skating sprinter Yu has been forced to quit the men's 1,000m race due to a strained right leg, while on the women's part, Ji Jia also opted to skip the 5,000m final for a better preparation for Thursday's team pursuit.

On Yu's absence, the hosts' best result of the men's mid-distance final on Tuesday came from Zhang Zhongqi, who finished sixth after timing 1:11.52, while Zhao Yaolin sat on the 10th on 1:11.97 and Liu Fangyi was a distant 23rd with a time of 1:14.14.

It's the first time for the Universiade speed skating that no record has been refreshed on a competitive day.

With Tuesday's victory, Mo has added a second gold medal to his Universiade collection after having lifted the 1,500m trophy on Sunday and claimed the 500m bronze last Thursday.

Mo's result, however, is still seconds short of the Universiade record of 1:09.68.

"I committed an error but was just lucky enough to win the gold with such a time," said the 20-year-old Mo, who stumbled a little in one of the curves of the two and a half ovals race.

"If there's not the error, I could definitely run in one minute and 9 plus seconds," added the junior of the Korean Sport University who was the third placer at both men's 500m and 1,000m in the 2007 Turin Universiade.

Mo's personal best is around 1:09.50, which could have sent him among the top 15 in Turin Winter Olympic Games' men's 1,000 meters, and the young skater said that he eyes on entering the top 10 in next year's Olympics in Vancouver.

The discipline is not what Lee Kang Seok puts most of his effort on and a bronze medal has been something beyond his expectation.

"I just wanted to attend more competitions to improve myself and the bronze medal is an extra reward for me, which made me more confident ahead of next month's World Championships," said Lee, a double winner in both the 500m and the 100m sprint.

(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2009)

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