|17 years old Han Tianyu, China's first medal winner celebrates with the national flag after match on Monday, February 10, 2014.(Photo/Xinhua)|
A silver medal from the men's 1,500m short track speed skating on Monday was China's first medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics as well as a silver lining for the country which has lost triple defending champion Wang Meng to injury.
In last Olympics, the Chinese short trackers swept the women's 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m and 3,000m relay golds, mainly thanks to Wang Meng, who pulled out of the Sochi Games after sustaining a serious ankle injury in training.
China claimed their first medal three days into the Olympics as Han Tianyu, 17, clocked two minutes and 15.055 seconds for a silver, equaling the best ever result by a Chinese men's short tracker at the Olympic Games.
Han trailed world No. 1 Charles Hamelin from Canada by 0.070 seconds but beat South Korea's 2006 Olympic triple gold medalist Victor An, who now represents Russia, into third place.
"Since it's my first Olympic Winter Games, I'm a little bit nervous and didn't think very much," said Han.
"I had never thought I could make it to the finals, let alone stand on the podium. I took every round as my final, and tried my best to compete."
His teammate Chen Dequan, 18, finished fifth in 2:15.626.
Earlier on Monday afternoon, all three Chinese competitors in the women's 500m - Liu Qiuhong, Li Jianrou and Fan Kexin - made it to Thursday's quarter-finals. They and Zhou Yang also set up a rematch of the women's 3,000m relay against South Korea.
"We've been trying our best under the principle of keeping safe, since there're so many ways leading to victory but an injury could cost it all," said Zhou Yang, who's defending her 1,500m and 3,000m relay titles here in Sochi.
The women's 500m final is scheduled for Feb. 13 and the women's 3,000m relay final Feb. 18.