CHINA STARTS STRONG AT THE WORLD CUP
MARQUETTE, Mich. – China dominated the competition, advancing three men and three women in the competition in both the 500 and 1500 meters on Thursday (Nov. 12) at the four-day World Cup Short Track speedskating competition at the Berry Events Center, located on Northern Michigan University’s campus in Marquette, Mich. The event is the final Olympic qualifier for short track skaters to earn spots in various race distances for their nations at the Winter Games.
Individually, Si-Bak Sung of Korea had a great start to the competition. He was the only athlete to land in the top three for both distances. He was second overall in the 1500m, finishing at 2:18.016 and third in the 500m at 41.427.
Italy and Korea also advanced three men to the 1500m semifinals, which will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14. Canada and Korea also qualified two women to advance. In all, 19 men and 19 women will race in the semifinals.
The United States had a good showing in the men’s 1500m, as well. Apolo Anton Ohno said he was trying to pace himself for the rest of the competition, but he still landed at the top of the rankings with a time of 2:16.157.
“Today and tomorrow are really long days, so we try to conserve our energy when we can,” he said. “As long as you qualify, that’s what’s important. The goal is to get through this competition safely and get on the podium.”
Teammate Travis Jayner was ranked third at 2:16.716.
In the women’s 1500m, China’s Yang Zhou was the top performer with a time of 2:24.532. She was followed by Katherine Reutter of the United States at 2:24.532 and Katerina Novotna of the Czech Republic at 2:23.283.
In the 500 meters, Canada and Korea joined the China men in advancing three skaters to the semifinals field of 24. Joining China’s female trio in the 29-skater semifinal, are three Korean and Dutch skaters.
Canadians Charles Hamelin and Francois-Louis Tremblay ranked first and second in the 500m after the day’s competition. Hamelin crossed the finish line at 41.242 and Tremblay in 41.304 seconds.
China’s Meng Wang clocked a 43.675 time to lead the women in that distance. Teammate Qiuhong Liu finished second at 43.787. Marianne St. Gelais of Canada came in third at 43.980.
The World Cup competition continues at noon on Friday, Nov. 13, in Marquette, starting with the 1000-meter races. Athletes will also skate in the women’s 3000m and the men’s 5000m relays.