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Wang Meng Victorious in Short-track Skating Return

(Xinhua)

10:30, October 22, 2012

Wang Meng of China races to a first place finish in the women's 500 meters race during the ISU Short Track World Cup competition in Calgary, Alberta, October 21, 2012. (Xinhua)

Chinese winter Olympic winner Wang Meng showed no rust in coming back from a 13-month suspension Sunday at the first ISU World Cup event of the year in Canada as she won the women's 500 meters short track speedskating in commanding fashion.

The 27-year-old Heilongjiang native, winner of four winter Olympic gold medals, crossed the finish line at the Calgary Oval in 43.240 in the final A, slightly off her world record time of 42.609.

Liu Qiuhong made it a one-two finish for China as she claimed the silver in 44:038, just ahead of third-place finisher Arianna Fontana (44.236) of Italy.

China's Fan Kexin finished second in the 500m final B race in 44.34, behind Russian Tatiana Borodulina (44.131).

Wang, Liu and Fan, along with teammate Li Jianrou, were also prominent in the women's 3,000m relay final A as they pushed the South Koreans (4:07.938) to the last stride, only to fall short and take home the silver (4:07.982). Japan was third (4:09.813), while Canada was a distant fourth with 4:17.342.

In the final event of the meet, the men's 5,000m relay, a penalty resulted in China finishing fourth and last in the final A.

The South Korean men capped off a strong start for their country to take the gold in 6:44.952, while Russia (6:45.124) was second, with Canada (7:02.356) third.

World records continued to fall at the World Cup meet Sunday as American J.R. Celski became the first skater to go under 40 seconds when he won the men's 500m final A in 39.937. His new mark smashed the 40.344 world record set by Vladimir Grigorev in the preliminaries on Friday. Russian Grigorev finished fourth (41.949) in the final, behind second-place Canadian Charles Hamelin (40.420) and bronze medalist John-Henry Krueger (40.588) of the United States.

In men's 500m final B, China's Liang Wenhao (40.796) finished second behind Canada's Olivier Jean (40.638).

South Korean Shim Suk-hee continued to display the dominance she has shown throughout the Calgary meet as she won the women's 1,000m final A in 1:29.247, just ahead of Canada's Marie-Eve Drolet (1:29.449). Kim Min-jung of South Korea took the bronze.

The men's 1,000m final A provided a four-way photo finish as Russian Victor An (1:24.519) was declared the winner. Canada's Michael Gilday (1:24.613) was second, while South Koreans Kwak Yoon-gy (1:24.711) and Noh Jink-yu (1:24.519) were third and fourth respectively.

The second meet of the World Cup season starts Friday in Montreal, Quebec, before moving to Asia starting in Nagoya, Japan, on November 30. Shanghai will host the fourth World Cup event of the 2012-2013 season December 7-9.

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