GANGNEUNG, Gangwon Province -- South Korean speed skater Noh Seon-yeong made her first appearance at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in the women's 1,500 meter race on Monday, where she fell well short of winning a medal by finishing in 14th place.
At the competition, held at Gangneung Oval, the venue of speed skating races, Noh finished her laps with a time of 1:58.75.
The figure hovered below her personal best of 1:56.04 and season best of 1:57.84.
|South Korea`s speed skater Noh Seon-yeong (Yonhap)|
"The crowd's cheer gave me a boost, and I was able to try my best," Noh said. "Since I put in my best efforts, there are no regrets."
Ireen Wust of the Netherlands clocked 1:54.35 to grab the gold, followed by Miho Takagi of Japan with 1:54.55. Dutch skater Marrit Leenstra trailed with 1:55.26.
Noh had a hard time preparing for the 2018 Winter Games, as she almost missed her spot in the 2018 Winter Games in late January due to an apparent mix-up by the nation's skating union.
Under the Olympic qualification rules set by the International Skating Union, all skaters competing in team pursuit must also have qualified for at least one individual race.
As the South Korean skating union was not aware of the regulation, Noh, who then did not have a spot for an individual game, was almost prevented from joining the team pursuit.
The absence of Russian athletes at the women's 1,500m race, however, gave Noh a last-minute chance to run at the Winter Games.
It is the fourth time for Noh to participate in a Winter Games.
In her first Olympics in 2006, she placed 32nd in the women's 3,000m.
In 2010, she took the 30th and 19th spots in the women's 1,500m and 3,000m, respectively. In the Sochi Winter Olympics four years later, she finished in the 25th spot at the 3,000m race.
"That was a really hard time," Noh said. "But this was an opportunity that I have earned myself without anyone's help. I did not want my last Olympic to end like that. So I joined the (1,500m) race."
While Noh was not considered a medal favorite in the competition, she nevertheless has tried her best on the ice in honor of her late brother, former short track star Noh Jin-kyu, who died of bone cancer two years ago.
"I thought about my brother really a lot before. After I stood on the ice, however, I tried not to think much as it could affect the race," Noh said, adding she was able to keep her promise to her brother, which was to run in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics instead of him.
Noh will now continue her preparations for the women's team pursuit.
South Korea's Kim Bo-reum, who also earned a spot in the women' 1,500m race, decided not to participate to manage her physical condition ahead of the mass start and team pursuit events. (Yonhap)