No competitive athlete tries to finish in second place. The ultimate goal is always to take the top prize.
That was also the goal for the Korean women's roller skating relay team at the Asian Games in China. But after settling for silver, Lee Seul, Park Min-jeong and Lee Ye-rim said they were pleased with the color of their medal, knowing that they had given a valiant effort and laid the foundation for a bright future together.
Korea finished second in the women's speed skating 3,000m relay in 4:21.146 at Qintang Roller Sports Centre in Hangzhou. Chinese Taipei got the gold in 4:19.447.
"All of us have been preparing for this competition for over four years, and we poured out everything on this track," said Lee Seul, the senior member of the team at 31. "Obviously, there's a bit of disappointment, but I think we can build on this experience and do even better in the future."
Lee, the youngest skater at 21, said she was thankful that all three members were able to finish the competition without suffering any injury.
"I think this experience will allow me to grow further as an athlete," Lee said. "I will try to work on my weaknesses and put on a better race in the future."
Roller sports have been in and out of the Asian Games since their debut in 2010. There were no speed skating track events in 2018, with only road races being held then. Track events returned this year, and the women's and men's 3,000m relays made their first Asiad appearances Monday.
Lee Ye-rim said the uncertain future of her sport at the Asian Games has made preparing for the continental event even more challenging than it already is.
"My two teammates have had to deal with a lot more adversity than I have, since this is my first Asian Games," she said. "And I think we've come this far because we've relied on each other and pushed each other. If the relay race is back at the next Asian Games, we'll try to win the gold medal then."
Chinese Taipei moved ahead of South Korea on the third lap of the 15-lap final and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way. But Park said Chinese Taipei can be beaten.
"In Hangzhou, we didn't have as much time to train at this track as we would have liked. We didn't get to see this place until we were really close to the competition," Park said. "Even though we really have good chemistry, we couldn't take advantage of that because we were not entirely familiar with the track. If we can have enough time to adjust to our surroundings at future races, I think we can be competitive against Chinese Taipei." (Yonhap)