S. Korean para Nordic skier proud to make history at Winter Paralympics

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PyeongChang (South Korea), March 11 (IANS) South Korean para Nordic skier Sin Eui-hyun on Sunday said that he is proud to become part of the country’s Winter Paralympic history after winning bronze in a cross-country skiing event here.

Sin won South Korea’s first medal at the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics after finishing third in the men’s 15-kilometre sitting cross-country skiing event at Alpensia Biathlon Centre in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometres east of Seoul, reports Yonhap news agency.

He clocked 42 minutes, 28. 9 seconds, which was 51.9 seconds behind gold medallist Maksym Yarovyi of Ukraine. Daniel Cnossen of the United States was second at 42:20.7.

“I feel very honoured to write history,” Sin said after the competition. “It would have been better if I claimed gold. But I think this is a good start for me, and I’ll do my best to perform better next time.”

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Sin’s bronze was South Korea’s first medal in cross-country skiing at the Winter Paralympics. His bronze is also South Korea’s third medal won at a Winter Paralympic Games.

Alpine skier Han Sang-min at Salt Lake City 2002 and the national wheelchair curling team at Vancouver 2010 previously won silver medals.

“Obviously, my goal was to win a gold medal,” he said. “I tried to save my energy in the early phase of the race and use my full power in the latter, but it didn’t go as I planned.”

Sin was fifth until the 3.8km mark. He advanced to third from the 12.99km intermediate point, but couldn’t reduce time.

This was Sin’s second event that he competed in at the PyeongChang Paralympics. In the men’s 7.5km sitting biathlon on Saturday, he took fifth.

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“I tried to forget yesterday’s result as quickly as possible,” he said. “I took a nap and tried to have positive thoughts for this competition.”

At Alpensia Biathlon Centre, Sin received avid support from home fans. He also raced together with two North Koreans — Ma Yu-chol and Kim Jong-hyon.

“The spectators really gave me a lot of energy,” he said. “As for the two North Korean skiers, I didn’t really talk with them much. I just exchanged words of greetings with them.”

Sin, 37, lost his legs after a car accident in 2006 just a day before his college graduation. He got into sports by playing wheelchair basketball in 2009 and also played para ice hockey in the past. He is only in his third full year of para Nordic skiing.

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“It was difficult for me to train for this sport, but I think everyone has something that fits to his or her talents,” he said. “You just have to try and find what’s best for you.”

Sin will compete in four more events at the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics that will run until March 18. He said his next target is winning gold.

“If I win a gold medal, I want to scream after I stick the national flag in the ground,” he said. “I will take a full rest and prepare for my next event.”

–IANS

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