South Korea, Netherlands ink skating accord

Tue Nov 4, 2014 4:16am EST
 
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SEOUL (Reuters) - Short track powerhouse South Korea and speed skating masters the Netherlands have agreed to share expertise in the winter sports to boost their medal hopes at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

The Korea Skating Union (KSU) said on Tuesday it had signed the agreement with its Dutch counterpart (KNSB) at South Korea's presidential office.

In a statement, the KSU said the idea had first been floated at the Sochi Olympics, where the Dutch won eight of the 12 speed skating gold medals up for grabs.

South Korea won two short track gold medals in Sochi, though Viktor Ahn, who switched nationality to Russia in 2011, won three more for his adopted country.

South Korea have won 21 of the 48 golds in short track since it became a medal sport at the 1992 Games.

KSU President Kim Jae-yeol said: "Our partnership with the Netherlands lets us share our strengths and is a 'win-win' opportunity for both of us".

Paul Sanders, the head of the KNSB, said it was a meaningful partnership for both countries and expected the Netherlands to improve at short track and South Korea to become more competitive in speed skating.

The two skating unions also hope to boost cooperation off the ice by developing sponsorship opportunities, the KSU statement said.

(Additional reporting by Kahyun Yang, writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)