Sochi / Russia

After spending yesterday racing through qualifying rounds in all individual distances, Europe’s best short track speed skaters took the ice today in Sochi for the Ladies and Men 1500 m and 500 m finals. Elise Christie (GBR) and Semen Elistratov (RUS) concluded the day leading their respective European Championship classification.  

Elise Christie (GBR) wins both the Ladies 1500 m and 500 m events

Elise Christie of Great Britain was in dominant form today, and started off this year’s ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships the same way she did last last year: by winning both the Ladies 1500 m and 500 m events. In the Ladies 500 m event, Christie had to contend with four other skaters to claim the win. She did take advantage of a fall by Ekaterina Konstantinova (RUS) to do so. Lara van Ruijven (NED) finished in second while Veronique Pierron of France finished third. The others to claim points in this race were Suzanne Schulting (NED) and Konstantinova who finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Elise Christie earned her second win of the day by taking the lead in the Ladies 1500 m final on the last lap. She passed Jorien ter Mors (NED) who had lead the majority of the race at that point. Ter Mors finished in second place, while her teammate Suzanne Schulting finished third. Anna Seidel (GER) was fourth and Evgeniya Zakharova (RUS) was fifth, both earning valuable points towards the championship classification.

Double Russian podium in the Men’s 500 m

The Men’s 500 m saw two skaters from Russia finish in the top three however the win went to defending European Champion Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands. Knegt took the lead with two laps to go, crossing the line ahead of the Russian duo Semen Elistratov (second) and Dmitry Migunov (third). Bartosz Konopko of Poland was the other skater in the final and finished fourth.

Semen Elistratov earns top points in the Men’s 1500 m

The Men’s 1500 m final saw seven skaters at the start line, without the defending European Champions who qualified for the Final B. Semen Elistratov (RUS) took advantage of Knegt’s absence in the final, and won the event. The win provides Elistratov precious points to leap-frog ahead of Knegt in the overall standings, to the cheer of the local fans. Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN) finished in second place, while Freek van der Wart (NED) was third. Sebastien Lepape (FRA) and Shaoang Liu (HUN) earned valuable championship points with a fourth and fifth place finish respectively.

Elise Christie ended the day with 68 points, followed by Lara van Ruijven with 23 points. Suzanne Schulting and Jorien ter Mors are both tied in third place overall with 21 points. On the Men’s side, the top three in the classification at the end of today are: Semen Elistratov (55 points), Sjinkie Knegt (35 points) and Shaolin Sandor Liu (21 points). Racing resumes tomorrow with the Ladies and Men 1000 m, 3000 m Super Final and the Relay finals. The Netherlands, Russia and Hungary have qualified both their Ladies and Men’s Relay teams for the finals. Joining the Ladies’ final is Italy, and Great Britain will race in the Men’s Relay final.