China's Liu Shaoang wins men's 500m at ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup

(Xinhua) 15:23, October 23, 2023

MONTREAL, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Olympic champion Liu Shaoang showcased his prowess in the season-opening ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Montreal on Sunday, clinching victory in the men's 500m final.

Liu, the reigning Olympic 500m champion, dominated the race, clocking in at 40.875 seconds after a year away from the rink. Canada's Felix Roussel closely trailed, securing second with a time of 40.895, while France's Quentin Fercoq finished third in 41.134. Tragically, Liu's sibling, Liu Shaolin, crashed out towards the race's conclusion.

"I am really tired. We had a year's rest, but it feels so great to come back," said Shaoang. "To feel the pressure and to have this feeling for racing again is amazing. I am really happy. I can be here to represent China today, and that's a great feeling. The race was exciting."

Shaoang admitted to feeling "a bit nervous" when competing in a final alongside his brother.

"We have that brotherly love and we have to watch out. Sadly, we didn't both finish on the podium together. It didn't work out today.

Despite his victory, Shaoang doesn't believe he's performing at 100 percent just yet.

"I missed a lot, so I need to get back into the rhythm. I wasn't very satisfied with my skating yesterday. I got a penalty that I deserved, but I feel like I can do much better, and I will do much better."

He's already eyeing the ISU World Cup on home turf.

"When we have the competition in December in Beijing, it's going to be a huge event; it's going to be a full house."

In other races, South Korea's Kim Gun-woo captured the men's 1000m (2) gold, his first gold in four seasons, finishing in 1:26.712. A crash in the final lap saw his teammate Park Ji-won, the world champion of the distance, finish fourth, while Italy's Luca Spechenhauser and Canada's William Dandjinou seized silver and bronze respectively.

In the women's category, Xandra Velzeboer of the Netherlands sprinted to victory in the 500m, with a gold-winning time of 41.961. Her teammate Selma Poutsma secured silver, while Italian veteran Martina Valcepina clinched bronze.

Kim Gilli of South Korea won the women's 1000m (2) in 1:30.998 with a decisive pass in the final lap, outpacing Belgium's Hanne Desmet and the United States' Kristen Santos-Griswold, who had won the 1500m and 1000m (1) on Saturday, to second and third places respectively.

"It's great to be a winner, it's exciting and crazy. I am very happy. I knew that the others would be fighting at the front, so my plan was to remain calm. I managed a calm race and waited until the correct point to get past. I have trained well and feel ready for the season. I will try to be the top skater this year."

Additionally, Canada thrilled the home crowd in the men's 5000m relay and women's 3000m relay. China settled for fourth in the men's relay.

The first leg of the ISU World Cup concluded, with the next stop also slated for Montreal from Oct. 27 to 29.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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