- Montreal, Canada
The ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2014 began today in Montreal, Canada with both the ladies and men competing in the 1,500m events. At the end of the first day of racing, Suk-Hee Shim (Korea) and Charles Hamelin (Canada) each won gold in the ladies and men 1500m event.
Despite seven skaters at the start line, the ladies’ final was dominated by the Korean skaters, sweeping the podium in this distance for the first time at a world championship since 2010. Suk-Hee Shim, who led the second half of the race, crossed the line ahead of teammates Alang Kim and Seung-Hi Park, who finished in second and third place respectively. Shim had a strong start to these championships, having won her qualifying races in the previous two rounds. Kim moved into the silver medal position with less than two laps to go, while Park moved into the bronze medal position on the last lap, preventing the local favorite Valerie Maltais (Canada) from stepping onto the podium. Park was the additional skater at the line as a result of a penalty to Arianna Fontana (Italy) during the second heat of semi-finals. Elise Christie (Great Britain) finished in fifth place, while Jessica Smith (United States) was sixth. Kexin Fan of China finished in seventh place. The top five spots in the overall standing at the end of day one were as follows: Shim (34 points), Kim (21 points), Park (13 points), Maltais (8 points) and Christie (5 points). The men’ 1500m final also saw seven skaters at the start line as Dajing Wu (China) was advanced as a result of a penalty to Vladislav Bykanov (Israel) in the third semi-final heat. Charles Hamelin, who won gold last month in this distance at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, spent the majority of the 13 and a half lap race in the lead to take the win. The sold-out crowd roared when Hamelin crossed the line in first place, inches ahead of Tianyu Han (China). Third place finisher was Se Yeong Park (Korea) who moved into the bronze medal spot on the last lap, after passing Victor An (Russia). Fifth place finisher was Dajing Wu, while Han-Bin Lee was sixth. Defending world champion, Da Woon Sin, had a though start to his title defense, ending the race in last place. The top five in the men’s overall standing after one event is as follows: Hamelin (34 points), Han (21 points), Park (13 points), An (8 points) and Wu (5 points). The ladies 3,000m relay teams were in action today, with the semi-finals at hand. In the first of two semi-finals, Korea and Canada finished in first and second place, to qualify for Sunday’s final. Russia and the United States finished in third and fourth places. In the second semi-final, China finished in first, while Italy narrowly edged out the team from Netherlands for second place. Japan finished in fourth, and like the Netherlands, they will not advance to the final on Sunday. Races resume tomorrow with the ladies and men 500m events, and the men’s 5,000m relay semi-finals.