Kim & Hong crowned junior world champions - Sarault impresses with 4 medals ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


5 mars 2018

Kim & Hong crowned junior world champions - Sarault impresses with 4 medals

It’s in Tomaszow Mazowiecki, a town of about 65 000 people just 110km south-west of Warsaw, Poland that the future stars of short track speed skating from all over the world were meeting this weekend to fight for glory at the junior level.

By Carl Savard
Photos by Schaats Foto's and Jeff Scholten

Since the first installment of the junior championships in 1994, the competition has been totally dominated by the Koreans. Just a handful of elite athletes such as Canada’s François-Louis Tremblay and Marie-Eve Drolet, China’s Qu Chunyu and Ren Ziwei, and American legend Apolo Anton Ohno have been able to win the overall title or tie for gold with a korean skater.

Courtney Sarault & Kazuki Yoshinaga crash the party
The ladies' main final on 1500m, saw Kim Ji Yoo, Han Soo Lim and Lee Su Youn from Korea, Courtney Sarault from Canada, Shione Kaminaga from Japan and Russia’s Yuliia Beresneva fight it out to take the lead in the ranking. After a pretty quiet first half of the race, it became clear that the three Korean skaters were about to deploy a strategy to take possession of the podium. What they were not prepared for was that Canada’s Courtney Sarault was ready to compete and crash their party. While Kaminaga and Beresneva looked panicked when the Korean launched their onslaught, the 17 years old from Moncton, New-Brunswick just seemed ready for the challenge. Kim Ji Yoo won the race, followed by Sarault and Han.

On the men’s side, Hong Kyung Hwan, Park Jang Hyuk and Lee June Seo from Korea, Kazuki Yoshinaga from Japan, Pavel Sitnikov from Russia and Yerkebulan Shamukhanov from Kazakhstan met in the main final. While it seemed that the Korean skaters were going to finish in first, second and third position, Lee got greedy and tried to pass one of his teammate in the last corner. His move led to an inside pass by Yoshinaga and a penalty to Lee. Hong won the gold medal followed by Yoshinaga and Park.

America's sweetheart wins gold on 500m
It’s with no real surprise that we saw Hungary’s Petra Jaszapati and U.S.A.’s Maame Biney end up in the main final on 500m and they had to face Canada’s Courtney Sarault and Xandra Velzeboer from the Netherlands. The pace was definitely too fast for Sarault who’s known for her stamina on longer distances. Biney gets the gold with Jaszapati winning silver and Velzeboer the bronze. On the men’s side, Lee June Seo from Korea finished in first place ahead of his teammate Hong Kyung Hwan. Quentin Fercoq from France grabbed the bronze.

Four more medals for Korea on 1000m
The main final on this distance on the women’s side of the board was a battle between Korea’s Kim Ji Yoo, Canada’s Courtney Sarault, Marijn Wiersma from the Netherlands and Maame Biney and Gabriella Hachem from the United States. Hachem was advanced to the main final following a penalty to Petra Jaszapati in the semifinal. Even though it seemed easy for Kim to win this race, Sarault skated an impressive race to get silver once again. Biney finished third. For the men, Hong Kyung Hwan added another gold medal to his weekend, finishing ahead of his fellow countrymen Park Jang Hyuk and Lee June Seo.

Women’s 1500m super final, overall ranking and relay results
The last individual race of these championships had the top five ladies face each other to try and gather more points for the overall final ranking. Courtney Sarault proved once again that when it comes to endurance, she’s one tough opponent. The Canadian won this 1500m, finishing ahead of Kim Ji Yoo and Petra Jaszapati. Maame Biney tried to escape the pack from the get go, but she is a sprinter and they were all able to pass her with a few laps to go.

In the overall ranking, Kim Ji Yoo is your new 2018 junior world champion. This victory makes it a 21st korean victory on the women’s side in 25 years. Courtney Sarault of Canada finishes an impressive weekend with a second place overall. The last Canadian woman to finish on the overall podium of these championships was Kalyna Roberge in 2005. Roberge won the bronze at the time. The only other Canadian lady who did better than Sarault in juniors’ history is Marie-Eve Drolet, who won these championships two years in a row in 2000 and 2001. The third place overall went to the American sensation Maame Biney. In the relay event, Courtney Sarault helped by Alyson Charles, Danaé Blais and Claudia Gagnon won a gold medal for Canada, finishing ahead of Japan and Italy.

Men’s 1500m super final, overall ranking and relay results

The Korean men were just too strong this weekend in Poland. In the 1500m super final, Lee June Seo finished in first place with Park Jang Hyuk and Hong Kyung Hwan finishing in second and third place. In the overall ranking, Hong finished first winning the title with Lee and Park joining him on the podium. With twelve medals available in the individual events, Japan’s Kazuki Yoshinaga and France’s Quentin Fercoq were the only skaters not from Korea able to get on the podium. In the relay event, Korea was penalised with a yellow card in the main final. The gold was won by Japan, while silver went to team Russia and the bronze to the Dutch team.

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