The ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2016 will be held in Seoul, Korea on March 11-13. Korea will host the World Championships for the third time (Gangneung 2008, Jeonju 2001). A total of 129 skaters from 35 ISU Members are entered to compete.
At the World Championships allround and Single Distance titles are up for grabs. Medals and the title of World Champion will be awarded in the three individual distances 500m, 1000m, 1500m. The allround classification is based on the results of each skater in the individual distances and if qualified the 3000m Super Final. Only the top eight point scorers and ties on the eighth position after the completion of the three first distances will skate the 3000m Super Final. For the individual distances the final points 34, 21, 13, 8, 5, 3, 2 and 1 are awarded in descending order commencing with the first place. No points are awarded to skaters who receive a yellow or red card or failed to finish the race.
The Ladies reigning World Champions Minjeong Choi (KOR) will be hoping to repeat last year’s performance in Moscow, Russia. Choi has had a great 2015/16 season, clinching the overall World Cup titles in both the 1000 m and 1500 m distances. Another Korean skater to watch is Suk-Hee Shim who finished in third place overall at least year’s World Championships and was the World Champion in 2014. Canadian skaters Marianne St-Gelais and Valerie Maltais will have medal hopes at these championships. St-Gelais had a successful season thus far, clinching the World Cup title in the 500 m, medaling at each World Cup stop and winning once in each distance, which will be key this weekend. Meanwhile, Maltais finished third overall in 2014 and had a strong finish to the World Cup season. European Champion Elise Christie (GBR) will also have hopes to add to that title with a World championship title. Christie has won a World Cup event in each distance this season. Fan Kexin (CHN) participated last weekend in the inaugural ISU Shanghai Trophy and is ranked seventh overall and Suzanne Schulting (NED) who won a bronze medal in the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships are others skaters to watch this weekend.
Last year Korea, China and Italy earned gold, silver and bronze respectively in the Relay event. These teams will want to repeat their performance, and will need to contend with the likes of Canada, Netherlands, Russia, France and Japan.
In the Men’s field, a new World Champion will be crowned as defending champion Sjinkie Knegt (NED) is not competing this weekend. However, Se Yeong Park (KOR) and Dajing Wu (CHN) silver and bronze medalists from the 2015 World Championships, will be in action aiming to win a few medals along the way to reach the top of the podium by the end of the weekend. Yoon-Gy Kwak (KOR) is also one to watch: this season, he is ranked number one overall and clinched the World Cup title in the 1500 m. Charles Hamelin (CAN) will be looking to claim a first World Championship title. Throughout his career he’s come close on many occasions, finishing second overall twice and third overall three times. Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN) and Dimitry Migunov (RUS) will be other skaters to watch.
In the Relay, reigning champions team China will try to defend their title while Hungary and Netherlands who earned silver and bronze respectively will aim to repeat and better yet, improve on their results. There will be tough competition from Canada, Korea, Russia, Italy and USA.
The schedule of the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2016 is as follows:
Friday, March 11: Qualifying Rounds 1500, 500, 1000 meters Ladies & Men
Saturday, March 12: Ranking Races 1500, 500 meters Ladies & Men; Semi-Finals & Finals 1500 meters Ladies & Men; Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals & Finals 500 meters Ladies & Men; Semi-Finals 3000 meters Relay Ladies; Semi-Finals 5000 meters Relay Men
Sunday, March 13: Ranking Races 1000 meters Ladies & Men; Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals & Finals 1000 meters Ladies & Men; Super-Finals 3000 meters Ladies & Men; Finals 3000 meters Relay Ladies; Finals 5000 meters Relay Men