The world's best short track speed skaters were back in action this weekend in Seoul, Korea, for the second stop of the 2013-2014 Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series. Last weekend was an exciting start to the season, with some great racing; more of the same is expected this weekend, with the Korean athletes skating on home ice.
After two full days of racing that saw the skaters compete through the rounds of pre-preliminaries all the way to the heats for each of the distances, today was the time to move into the finals of the 1500m and 500m for both the ladies and men.
The Ladies' 1500m was won by Alang Kim of Korea, with her teammate Suk Hee Shim right behind her; these skaters swapped podium positions from last weekend's racing. The third-place finisher was Valerie Maltais of Canada. The fans were close to being delighted by an all-Korean podium finish. However, Seung-Hi Park, who crossed the line in third place, received a penalty. The win by Kim puts her at the top of the World Cup distance classification, tied with her teammate Shim. In third place overall in the standings is Jorien Ter Mors (Netherlands), who won the B Final.
The Men's 1500m final saw some very close racing, with six strong skaters who excel at this distance. With two laps to go, Charles Hamelin (Canada) made his final move to edge out Han-Bin Lee (Korea) for the win. Victor An of Russia was the third-place finisher after skating in the top two positions in the second half of the race. The win allows Hamelin to take the lead in the World Cup distance classification, with An in second place. Defending World Cup champion and last weekend's winner of the 1500m, Jinkyu Noh, is not racing this weekend.
In the Ladies' 500m event, defending World Cup distance champion and Ladies World Champion Meng Wang of China, was back to winning ways. Wang took the lead in the second lap to finish first in the 500m final, with her teammate Kexin Fan a close second. Arianna Fontana (Italy) was third. Fan maintains her lead in the World Cup ranking for the distance.
Meanwhile, the Men's 500m final was won by Victor An, who made a great pass on Dajing Wu (China) with two laps to go. This was An's second podium finish of the day. Wu eventually crossed the line in second place, ahead of Se Yeong Park of Korea. Unfortunately, 500m specialist Vladimir Grigorev of Russia was unable to make much of an impression, following a fall midway through the race. His fourth place does, though, allow Grigorev to take the lead in the World Cup classification for the distance.
Racing resumes tomorrow with the 1000m and Relay events for both the ladies and men.