S. Korean figure skater calls Four Continents ‘unforgettable’

South Korea’s Choi Da-bin performs in the women’s free skating at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 18, 2017. (Yonhap)
GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korean figure skater Choi Da-bin said Saturday she had an “unforgettable” experience at the International Skating Union (ISU) competition here.
Choi finished a career-best fifth in the women’s singles at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, some 230 kilometers east of Seoul. Choi also established a new personal high with 182.41 points total.

Choi had a good start with her short program on Thursday, finishing sixth with 61.62 points. Her previous best score in the short was 58.70.

In the free skating, the 17-year-old made some mistakes early in her program, but was able to make up for them with a solid performance later. Choi eventually earned 120.79 points in the free and 182.41 points in total, both the highest marks of her career.

“My first move — triple lutz-triple toe loop combination — was the most difficult one, so I was nervous about it,” she said. “I made mistakes and I was a little stressed, but I tried to forget that and concentrated on the next moves.”

Choi’s total score was the second highest among all South Koreans who’ve competed at the Four Continents. Kim Yu-na, the only South Korean Olympic champion, scored 189.07 points to take the 2009 Four Continents title.

Choi was in the final group of six to perform the free skating. She said it was a big honor to skate with the top-class figure skaters.

“It was really a big honor for me to skate in the final group,” she said. “This competition has been unforgettable for me.”

Kim said she is thankful for home fans who may have helped her to earn the career high scores.

“Since the competition is in South Korea, many fans cheered for me,” she said. “I think that also influenced judges and was reflected in my presentation scores.”

The 2016 national championship silver medalist said, however, there are still things to learn.

“I think I need to practice more on how to execute my moves when I feel nervous,” she said. “I still need to work harder.”

Since Park So-youn decided to withdraw from the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, Choi is likely to take her spot. If confirmed, Choi will have to fly to Japan next week to compete for the continental title.

“I might feel some fatigue, but I will do my best at the Asian Games,” she said.

kdon@yna.co.kr

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