Wu Dajing (C) of China celebrates after winning the 2,000m mixed relay at ISU World Cup Short Track 2021/2022 in Beijing on Oct. 24, 2021. (Xinhua/Cao Can)
Team China pocketed two relay golds on the final day of the ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Beijing, while Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands and Hwang Dae-heon of South Korea each took gold in the 1,000m category.
BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- China claimed two gold medals in the 2,000m mixed relay and the 3,000m women's relay races on the final day of the 2021-22 season ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series in Beijing on Sunday.
Team China, consisting of Fan Kexin, Zhang Yuting, Ren Ziwei and Wu Dajing, started from the furthest position on the track in the 2,000m mixed relay final, but Fan jumped to the top as soon as they ran into the very first corner.
The race was then perfectly paced for China as the skaters established a clear lead and gave the opponents no chances to close the gap to claim gold. The Netherlands finished second, while South Korea placed third.
In the women's 3,000m relay, China, including Fan Kexin, Guo Yihan, Qu Chunyu and Zhang Yuting, started again from the furthest position while world record holder the Netherlands were on the inside. China was in no rush skating in the last but found their chance to move up to the third during the exchange on lap five.
Fan squeezed in from the inside on the straight to become second on lap 18 and it became a race between the Netherlands and China.
Zhang Yuting (L) of China and Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands stumbled through the finishing line in the women's 3,000m relay. (Xinhua/Cao Can)
China took advantage of the exchange again to become the leader as they entered the second-last lap. There was a bit of a contact between the two skaters before the final corner but Zhang managed to hold her position to claim gold though both skaters stumbled through the line in an unusual finish.
The Netherlands and South Korea again grabbed silver and bronze respectively.
"Everyone did their best during the race," said Guo. "We worked together to become the champion. I'm very excited."
The men's 5,000m relay became a bit of a chaos since the start of lap 23 as Wu slipped on the ice, making it look like a race for the rest four teams before an Italian athlete ran out of the track too.
Team China didn't give up on the race and saw a possible podium chance on lap 34 as they caught up with South Korea, who failed to complete an exchange and dropped from first to third right in front of China.
Wu Dajing (back) of China went down during the men's 5,000m relay. (Xinhua/Cao Can)
Wu was then blocked by Kim Dong-wook of South Korea around the corner, who, as a non-racing member, was supposed to stay out of the path of the racing skater. As a result, South Korea was penalized with a yellow card and a cancellation of their race result.
As the only two teams remaining hunting for the gold, the Netherlands led all the way to the finishing line ahead of world record holder Hungary. Italy took the bronze, while China failed to clock a valid time.
"We skated as planned but incidents are always part of short track speed skating," Ren said. "We learned to live with it and I think we will do better."
Compared to China's solid performance in the team events, no Chinese athlete made it to the 1,000m finals.
Suzanne Schulting (L) of the Netherlands leads in the women's 1,000m final A ahead of Kim Ji-yoo (M) of South Korea. (Xinhua/Cao Can)
The women's 1,000m final was a relatively tame one compared to that of yesterday, as reigning Olympic champion Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands held a solid lead from the beginning to pocket the gold. Kim Ji-yoo of South Korea and Kristen Santos of the United States finished second and third, respectively.
The men's 1,000m final saw an impressive comeback show from the world record holder Hwang Dae-heon of South Korea and the newly crowned 1,500m World Cup winner Semen Elistratov of Russia, both of whom looked calm to skate at the end of the crowd most of the race.
The duo decided to speed up with only two and a half laps to go in the nine-lap race and it only took Hwang a corner to run from the last to the top. Elistratov also moved to the second as they entered the final lap.
Hwang Dae-heon of South Korea in action during the men's 1,000m final A. (Xinhua/Cao Can)
Hwang defended his dominance in the men's 1,000m category to collect the gold with a huge advantage. The Russian finished second. Pascal Dion of Canada beat Kazuki Yoshinaga of Japan by a narrow 0.001 second to secure the bronze.
The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series will travel to Nagoya, Japan from October 28 to 31, before going to Europe for the last two events in Debrecen, Hungary and Dordrecht, the Netherlands on November 18 to 21, and 25 to 28, respectively.