S. Korean Lim delights home fans with short track gold while unified Korean women's ice hockey team makes debut

Updated 2018-02-11 10:18:05 Xinhua

South Korea's Lim Hyojun (L) competes during the men's 1500m final of short track speed skating event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena, South Korea, Feb. 10, 2018.(Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)

Lim Hyo-jun of South Korea delighted home fans with victory in men's short track speed skating 1,500 meters final while a unified Korean women's ice hockey team made its debut at the PyeongChang Winter Games on Saturday.[Special coverage]

Lim, who upset defending Olympic champion Charles Hamelin of Canada for the long-distance gold in a time of 2 minutes and 10.485 seconds, was happy after landing the surprising win in front of the joyful home crowd including his family.

"I'm stunned and it's unbelievable, but it's not finished yet. I will also be trying my best for the relay on the 22nd," he said. "Actually, all of my family is here to cheer me on. Also, my parents didn't really contact me before the competition. I think that's because they trusted me with their whole heart and they didn't want to put me under stress. I would like to send a message to my parents that I really love them and thank you for all the support and belief."

The 21-year-old Lim also shattered the Olympic record of 2:10.949 which was set by his compatriot Lee Jung-su at the Vancouver Games in 2010.

Chinese Han Tianyu, the silver medalist in the Sochi Games four years ago, failed to reach the final before settling for the eighth place.

Earlier in the day, Charlotte Kalla of Sweden claimed the first gold of the PyeongChang Games when she won the women's skiathlon in a time of 40:44.9 in an event combining 7.5 km classic and 7.5 km freestyle skiing.

However, it's Norway's Marit Bjoergen who's the most hailed athlete of the race after she took the 11th Olympic medal by finishing second in 40:52.7.

"I am here to take medals. It is my fifth Olympics and still to be there. I am happy with that. I am happy to be here at my age," said the 37-year-old Bjoergen, who won three gold medals at Vancouver in 2010 and three more in the 2014 Sochi Games.

Chinese skier Li Xin clocked in 46:01.9 to finish 51st while her teammate Chi Chunxue settled for the 55th in 46:39.0.

The unified Korean ice hockey women's team, first of its kind in the Olympics history, also came into the spotlight by making an eye-catching debut in PyeongChang, despite losing 8-0 to Sochi bronze winner Switzerland in the opening round of the tournament.

Among the spectators of the sold-out game were Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), who led a high-level delegation to South Korea for the Games.

In the opening ceremony, DPRK and South Korea marched together under a unified Korean flag.

Elsewhere, Dutch skaters had a clean sweep of women's 3,000m speed skating race with Carlijn Achtereekte clocking a winning time of 3:59.21.

Compatriot and defending champion Ireen Wust came in second at 3:59.29 and Antoinette de Jong took home the bronze with 4:00.02.

There were also wins for German biathlete Laura Dahlmeier, who bagged women's 7.5km sprint gold and German Andreas Wellinger, who took men's ski jumping normal hill individual title.

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