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S. Korea wins women's 3,000m short track relay as China disqualified
South Korea won the women's 3,000m short track speed skating relay with a time of 4:17.040 to clinch its fourth gold medal in the sport as China was disqualified for impeding at the Turin Winter Olympic Games Wednesday evening.
Canada took the silver at 4:17.336 while the host Italy claimed the bronze at 4:20.030.
"We won the gold medal because we trained hard for years long. We had ups and downs but finally we are on the top," Choi Eun- Kyung of South Korea, who also won the 1,500m here, said at the press conference.
"We had a relative slow start so we chose the best starter among us Jeon Da-Hye to skate first. Whatever the tactics we planned, something always happened in the competition," her teammate Byun Chun-Sa said.
"Anyway, we gave our best performance and won the gold medal," she added.
South Korea made it four golds in a row in the women's short track speed skating relay since the 1994 Games, and its long-time rival China has won the silver two times in the 1998 Games and 2002 Games.
"It is a little burdensome thinking of the fourth gold medal in the sport. We forgot it as soon as we started the competition and just focused on our team," Jin Sun-Yu said.
China skated in the third place when Wang Meng crossed the final line, but its result was disqualified immediately after the competition as the judges ruled that Wang blocked the way of Canada. Thus Italy, who crossed the line last, was awarded the bronze medal.
"It was very difficult to be on the outside and everyone was pushing. There was nothing we could have changed," said China's Fu Tianyu, who handed over the last leg to Wang Meng.
"Everyone was too close but it's hard to say whose fault it was. "
"We did have an impeding during the race and we respect the judges' decision," said Tong Lixin, manager of the Chinese team.
The bronze medal delighted the home crowd and the host skaters carried their Italian flags crying out with excitement, and sped back into the center of the rink to receive the applause.
"This is a great joy to win the bronze. We had dreamed about it for four years," said Cecilia Maffei.
In Turin, China took the lead at the start and kept the advantage in the first 11 laps. South Korea surpassed China with 16 laps to go. Though China regained the first position in the 22nd lap, the Korean skaters re-charged ahead again in the 24th lap and sealed the victory with perseverance.
Canada exceeded China in the last lap for the silver.
"I did not see the details in the race, but it was such an aggressive race and we had to go out and do aggressively," said Tania Vicent of Canada.
"I did moves and passes during the race. I don't know what happened there but I am sure our team is clean," said Anouk Leblanc-Boucher.