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S. Korean snowboard star suffers early exit at World Cup at home 2017/02/12 13:31

South Korea's alpine snowboard hopeful Lee Sang-ho was eliminated in the qualification round of a parallel giant slalom (PGS) competition in PyeongChang on Sunday.

Lee, 21, finished 20th in the men's PGS event with a combined time of 1 minute, 23.71 seconds at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Snowboard World Cup in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul, and failed to reach the elimination rounds, open only to the top 16 snowboarders. The FIS World Cup is one of the test events for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

In PGS, two snowboarders go head-to-head on two parallel courses labeled red and blue. In the qualification round, athletes race down each of the red and blue courses, and the times from the two runs are added together to determine the top 16 riders for the knockout stage.

At Phoenix Snow Park, Lee posted a time of 40.58 seconds on the blue course, which was third among all 50 competitors. However, he clocked 43.13 on the red course, just 31st in the field.

Lee, the 2015 PGS junior world champion, is ranked fifth in the PGS World Cup standings this season, the highest ever for a South Korean. He was looking for his fourth top-10 finish at the World Cup here.

Lee has had three top-five finishes in the current World Cup season, including a fourth-place showing in December in Italy, the best World Cup result by a South Korean snowboarder.

Lee was among seven South Korean snowboarders who missed the cut. Veteran snowboarder Kim Sang-kyum was the only one who joined the last 16 after finishing 15th with a combined time of 1:23.08.

Kim, whose best World Cup finish is 10th, will face the 2014 Sochi Winter Games bronze medalist Nevin Galmarini, the Swiss who finished second in the qualification round, later Sunday in the round of 16.

Radoslav Yankov, currently the World Cup leader, passed the qualification stage in first place with a time of 1:21.29.

In the elimination rounds, two snowboarders also race each of the courses, and the loser of the first run starts the second run with a time disadvantage equal to the time deficit from the previous run.

Meanwhile, no South Korean woman qualified for the elimination rounds. Shin Da-hae posted the best time among three South Korean women at 22nd place among 40 competitors with a time of 1:32.10.

Alena Zavarzina of Russia, now No. 1 in the World Cup rankings, finished first in the qualification round with a time of 1:28.28. (Yonhap)

Park So-yeon  edt@koreapost.com

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