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Top short track speed skating nations to miss world championships

Short Track Speed Skating

China’s Zhou Yang (L) is pushed on by China’s Fan Kexin as South Korea’s Choi Minjeong is pushed on by South Korea’s Shim Sukhee during the hand over in the women’s 3,000m relay short track speed skating A final event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Short track speed skating powerhouses South Korea and China, plus the top female skater from Canada, are not registered for next month’s world championships.

South Korea’s federation announced in late January that it would not participate at worlds, which are March 5-7 in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Dutch media also reported that China and Japan both withdrew their registrations. Neither nation is on the current entry list.

Then on Tuesday, Canadian Kim Boutin announced she would miss worlds, prioritizing preparation for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

South Korea is the most successful nation in Olympic short track history, since it debuted as a medal sport at the 1992 Albertville Games. It earned a leading six medals and three golds at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Korean men swept the golds at the most recent world championships in 2019. The 2020 Worlds were among the first major international sports events canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Short track has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. The entire 2020-21 World Cup season was canceled, making the Dordrecht worlds the first global, top-level competition in 13 months.

Short track has been the most successful winter sport for 2022 Olympic host China. Wu Dajing is the Olympic champion and world-record holder in the 500m sprint.

Boutin earned a medal in all three individual events in PyeongChang. Canada’s roster for worlds still includes its most decorated Olympic short track skater, Charles Hamelin.

The U.S. is still entered for worlds, bidding for its first world championships medal since 2014.

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