China dominated the Men's finals at the Dordrecht World Cup on Saturday as Wu Dajing and Ren Ziwei claimed comfortable victories in the 500m and 1500m to put their rivals on notice ahead of their home Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
Ren Ziwei stormed to victory in the Men's 1500m in Dordrecht © International Skating Union
While the Chinese took top honors, Sjinkie Knegt's (NED) uplifting silver in the 1500m after recovering from two horrific injuries provided the day's biggest inspiration.
It was Knegt's first individual World Cup podium in three seasons. In December 2018 his leg was crushed by a forklift truck, and he suffered third-degree burns in a domestic accident the following month, plunging his skating future into doubt.
Sijinke Knegt (R) claimed an emotional silver three years after suffering career-threatening injuries © International Skating Union
"There were always moments where I thought I would never skate again but I'm happy to win this medal after a long period of recovery," Knegt said.
"I needed a medal to get the confirmation to get back on the highest level of skating."
While Knegt's return to the podium was a welcome sight, it was Ren who controlled proceedings in the 1500m by leading for the entire second half of the race to claim his second successive World Cup victory in the distance.
Ren (C), Knegt (L) and Hyuk (R) ended on the podium in the Men's 1500m © International Skating Union
With the victory, Ren, who won Olympic silver in the relay at PyeongChang 2018, has stamped himself as one of the favorites to win what would be his first individual Olympic medal in Beijing.
Park Jang Hyuk (KOR) finished behind Knegt to round out the podium.
A dominant Wu celebrates on the finish line after winning gold in the 500m © International Skating Union
In the 500m, Olympic champion Wu started in pole position and led the entire race in an ominous sign that he is ready to defend his title at Beijing 2022.
Wu lead from start to finish ahead of Stephen Dubois (L) © International Skating Union
Fresh off his victory in this distance in Debrecen, Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN) finished fourth after crashing with a lap to go.
Wu (C) with fellow medallists Dubois (L) and Ivliev (R) © International Skating Union
The Dordrecht World Cup concludes on Sunday with the Men's and Women's individual 1000m and Relay finals.
The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series consists of four events during 2021/22 and they are all qualifying events for Beijing 2022.