Sofia day 1: Hamelin and Choi ready for war ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


8 mars 2019

Sofia day 1: Hamelin and Choi ready for war

You can not win your world champion title on the Friday, but you can lose it. The reigning overall champions Charles Hamelin and Choi Min Jeong made sure they’d be able to defend their titles this weekend.

By Carl Savard
Photo: Danny Kim

The reigning champions are ready
At 34, Charles Hamelin’s name is now upthere in the list of most influential skaters in the history of the sport. Whether you ask young skaters debuting their career in their local clubs or adversaries that have been fighting him for years, the answers are always similar. Charles Hamelin never gives up, his presence is always felt and the way he battles now at his age is highly inspiring.

At the young age of 20, Korea’s Choi Min Jeong is already a legend. She won the overall world champion title three times and she doesn’t look like she is slowing down. She also seems to have more fun than ever on the ice, adding pressure on her opponents’ shoulders. Even though other young talented skaters are ready to take her spot on Korea’s national team, she doesn't seem to be ready to quit.

Both actual champions were able to qualify for the big show of the weekend on 500m, 1000m and 1500m. Let’s see who will try to stop them from repeating their 2018 successful runs.

Most stars move forward, but Lim Hyo Jun missed his chance on 500m
When you look at this season’s results on the World cup circuit some names are already being thrown around as potential 2019 world champions. After a first few years of trials and errors, Dutch superstar Suzanne Schulting is now one of the toughest competitor in the world of short track. A perfect mix of skills, power, aggressiveness and charm that culminated this season. She is cut out to be a champion and is probably Choi’s biggest opponent this weekend. Canada’s Kim Boutin, who missed the first two World cup events of the season, came back like she had never left and could very well accomplish what no other Canadian women has done since Nathalie Lambert 25 years ago: be crown overall world champion. Other skaters like Sofia Prosvirnova, Martina Valcepina and former world champion Elise Christie will surely have a say in who becomes champion this weekend whether it’s one of them or not.

On the men’s side, Lim Hyo Jun, who many saw as a potential winner this weekend, was not able to qualify for the main board on 500m but all the other big names are ready to fight Hamelin on all the distances. Liu Shaolin Sandor has been seen as a top choice for three years now to become world champion. After finishing 3rd in 2016 and 2nd in 2018, this year may be the one for the 23-year-old Hungarian star. Russia’s Semen Elistratov is always dangerous and Lim’s teammates Hwang Dae Heon and Lee June Seo could cause trouble to Hamelin on the road leading to his second title.

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