ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships Day 2

- Montreal, Canada

The second day of the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2014 resumed today in Montreal, Canada with both the ladies and men competing in the 500m events. The men’s relay teams were also in action today. Seung-Hi Park (Korea) and Wu Dajing (China) each won gold today in the ladies and men 500m event.

After going through four qualifying rounds, from the preliminaries to the semi-finals, the ladies final saw the following four skaters on the start line: Elise Christie (Great Britain), Jorien Ter Mors (Netherlands), Kexin Fan (China) and Seung-Hi Park (Korea). Park was a bronze medalist in this distance at the Sochi Winter Games, and earned a gold medal today with a win in the event. Park was sitting in second place when she passed Christie with two laps to go. Christie held onto that second place to earn a silver medal, after a great start to the race. Fan, who was the 500m world champion in 2012, earned her fourth consecutive world championship medal in this distance. Ter Mors finished fourth place, which gave her championship points, as she heads into tomorrow’s races.

The win today puts Park into the overall lead with 47 points, followed by Suk Hee Shim with 34 points and Christie with 26 points. Fourth and fifth place overall are Alang Kim (21 points) and Fan (15 points).

The men’s 500m final was an exciting one, with Charles Hamelin, current championship leader, Victor An, current Olympic champion in the distance, J.R. Celski, current world record holder for the distance, and Wu Dajing, Olympic silver medalist in the distance, lined up at the start. Celski got off to a great start, leading the pack after the first corner but was quickly passed by Wu, who held onto the lead until the end. Celski, who was sitting in second place, came under attack with less than one lap to go, as An tried to pass as they entered the last lap. An lost control, allowing Celski to hold onto his silver-medal winning place. Hamelin took advantage of the situation, to move into third place, to earn not only a bronze medal in the event, but gained some crucial championship points.

After two days of racing, Hamelin maintains his lead in the overall championship classification with 47 points. The rest of the top five in overall standings are: Wu (39 points), Han (21 points), Celski (21 points), and An (16 points).

The men’s 5,000m relay teams were in action today, with the semi-finals at hand. In the first of two semi-finals, Russia and Great Britain finished in first and second place, to qualify for Sunday’s final. Canada and China got caught in a bad relay exchange with about ten laps to go, to finish third and fourth places. In the second semi-final, it ended up being a three-team race, as Italy fell behind, and ended up being lapped by eventual winners Korea. The Netherlands held onto second place, to qualify for tomorrow’s final as well. The United States finished third.

The ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2014 conclude tomorrow with the ladies and men 1000m, 3,000m super final and relay events.