Dresden day 1: A day like no other ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


1 février 2019

Dresden day 1: A day like no other

The best skaters in the world are currently competing in Dresden, Germany  host of the fourth leg of the 2018-19 World cup season in short track speed skating.

By Florence Gauthier
The first day of a World cup weekend is usually pretty quiet, but it’s not what happened today. An injury to one of the best skaters this season, a race interruption followed by confusion and a collision between a skater and a track steward gave spectators some unexpected scenes to witness.

An unfortunate fall
On the men's side, the day started well with the first two heats of preliminaries in the 1000m. Hiroki Yokoyama (JPN), Pavel Sitnikov (RUS), Samuel Girard (CAN) and Yauheni Ryzhou (BLR) easily qualified for the next round. In the third heat, Shaoang Liu (HUN), the distance gold medalist in Calgary and Almaty, was swept away by the fall of Reinis Berzins (LAT) and injured his hand. He seems to have broken the bones of three fingers. He had to withdraw from the competition and will not be able to participate in the next World cup.
In the 1500m, there was no big surprise. This season’s leader on the distance, June Seo Lee (KOR), won his race. Calgary’s gold medalist Kazuki Yoshinaga (JPN) advanced to the next round with a 0.108 second lead over Itzhak de Laat (NED) who also qualified. Charles Hamelin, Pascal Dion and Steven Dubois from Canada all qualified for the semifinals.
As for the 500m, Samuel Girard, the winner in Almaty, was advanced to the next round following the penalty to Alexander Shulginov (RUS). Gun Woo Kim (KOR), Hyo Jun Lim (KOR), Dmitry Migunov (FRA), Steven Dubois, Dae Heon Hwang (KOR), Ziwei Ren (CHN) and Thomas Insuk Hong (USA) all finished first in their heat, which assured them a place for the semifinals.
The leaders up front
Without too many pitfalls, the best women skaters on the circuit managed to qualify in each of their individual distances. In the 1000m (1), Sofia Prosvirnova (RUS) won her wave, as did Maame Biney (USA). The three Canadians competing on the distance, Claudia Gagnon, Kasandra Bradette and Alyson Charles managed to qualify for the quarterfinals. Courtney Lee Sarault (CAN) followed her compatriots in the 1000m (2). Unsurprisingly, Suzanne Schulting, who is unbeatable on the distance this season, won her race. In the 1500m, Kim Boutin (CAN) had the best time of the day, 2:18.234. Thanks to their time, 3rd place finishers Sumire Kikuchi (JPN) and Michaela Sejpalova (CZE) will be able to participate in the semifinals. In the fourth wave of the 500m, Elise Christie (GBR) finished 0.018 seconds ahead of Natalia Maliszewska (POL), leader of the distance ranking this season. World junior champion Maame Biney won her race with no real difficulty.
Confusion during the men's relay
Canada easily won the first wave of the men's relay, followed by China. In the next race, the confusion settled towards the end when a Ukrainian skater, who was in the middle of the ice, fell and took a Korean skater with him. The race was stopped and was not resumed. The officials decided that Japan and Italy were qualified for the next round, while Ukraine got a yellow card. The Netherlands, Kazakhstan, France and Hungary are the other teams that managed to move forward. For the women's relay, Canada, Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Korea, Poland, the Netherlands and the United States will move on to the next round. Teams going to the mixed relay semifinals are Russia, Kazakhstan, United Kingdom, Korea, Hungary, China, Canada and Germany.

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