A strong crowd was on hand at the Centre George-V¨¦zina this weekend for the third event of the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating, which was held in Saguenay, Canada.
For this event, the skaters competed twice in the 500m distance. The three-day event began with Friday¡¯s Qualifying races, as the skaters in both the ladies and men competition attempted to qualify for the quarter-final rounds in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m. A qualification round was also held for the men¡¯s relay event.
Meng Wang from China continued her strong early season stride by taking gold in both the 500m ladies¡¯ event. On Saturday, she edged out two local favorites, Canadians Kalyna Roberge and Jessica Gregg. Roberge and Gregg placed silver and bronze respectively. On Sunday, Wang beat Evgenia Radanova from Bulgaria while Ji-Soo Jeon from Korea took the bronze.
On the men¡¯s side, both 500m events were won by Canadian skaters, and saw two skaters from Canada on the podium for each 500m event. On Saturday, François-Louis Tremblay took gold ahead of teammate Olivier Jean. Ho-Suk Lee from Korea took bronze. Sunday¡¯s men 500m event saw Charles Hamelin barely edging out Ze Hu from China, while Jeff Scholten of Canada took bronze.
The ladies 1500m showcased the strength of the Korean skaters in this distance, as all three places on the podium were won by skaters from Korea. Sun-Yu Jin took the gold ahead of teammates Eun-Ju Jung and Chun-Sa Byun, placing silver and bronze respectively. On the men¡¯s side, the 1500m was also won by a Korean skater. Hyun-Kon Kim took the gold with a solid performance over second placed François-Louis Tremblay of Canada. Ye Li from China rounded up the podium with a bronze medal performance.
On Sunday, the ladies 1000m event was skated, with an amazing performance of local favorite Kalyna Roberge from Canada. Roberge took the gold medal ahead of three Korean skaters; Chun-Sa Byun finished in second place while Sun-Yu Jin took the bronze medal. In the men¡¯s 1000m event, the Koreans swept the podium with gold, silver and bronze going to Hyun-Soo Ahn, Ho-Suk Lee and Byeong-Jun Kim respectively.
The weekend¡¯s competition concluded on Sunday afternoon with the ladies 3000m and men 5000m relays. The ladies 3000m relay event, saw a very close battle between China and Korea exchanging the lead throughout the 27 laps. In the end, China took the gold with a time of 4:14.493 ahead of Korea who finished second in a time of 4:14.573. Canada pleased the crowd by taking bronze in the event.
In the men¡¯s 5000m relay, there was yet another close race between the teams involved. However, the team from Korea took gold in a time of 6:53.897. China barely edged out the United States for silver medal. The young team from the United States took bronze.
The skaters now have a few days to recover as they travel a few hours to Montreal, Canada for the next event, where this time, the 1500m distance will be raced twice. The fourth ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating event takes place on December 8-10.