Shanghai – South Korea displayed its power in both men’s and women’s 1,000m races as all its skaters topped their respective heats at the ISU World Cup short track speed-skating on Friday.
Their dominating performance helped them into the quarter-finals of the competition holding in Shanghai, China.
In the women’s 1,000m heats, China’s Fan Kexin became a surprising exit from the first round as the Sochi Olympics runner-up was disqualified for impeding.
“I’ll improve myself in the next two months. I want to become strong enough to avoid any penalty.
“It’s a lesson for me today, being a skater, I will not be influenced by this penalty and will give my all out in Shanghai,’’ Fan said.
After Zang Yize failed to sail further, Han Yutong became the lone Chinese woman to qualify for the quarter-finals of the event.
Shim Suk Hee, the bronze medalist at the Sochi Games, skated strongly and smoothly in the heat.
Shim joined teammates Lee Yu Bin and Kim A Lang to beat the odds and advance as the top finishers of their own groups.
Veteran Arianna Fontana of Italy, Valerie Maltais of Canada and Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands also qualified for the quarter-finals.
In the men’s 1,000m heats, Chinese Wu Dajing and Han Tianyu made it to the quarter-finals as runners-up.
“After the last stage in the Netherlands, I trained very hard in Beijing for nearly one month, and I can see the improvement in my ability and strategy.
“I hope I can display something different at the PyeongChang Games.
“What I dream for most is the gold medal in the men’s relay in PyeongChang, because it will show how strong our team is,’’ Han, the silver madalist at the Sochi Games, said.
Hwang Dae Heon, Park Se Yeong and Kwak Yoon Gy earned the full spots for South Korea as they advanced to the quarter-finals.
Olympic champion Charles Hamelin and John-Henry Krueger of the U.S. also advanced to the quarter-finals.
In the team relay heats, China made the semi-finals in both men’s 5,000m relay and women’s 3,000m relay as top finishers.
The team will meet South Korea and Russia in the first semi-final of the men’s relay, and Canada and Japan in the second semi-final of the women’s relay.(Xinhua/NAN)