Biney surprises - Choi and Hwang in control after Day 1 ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


11 janvier 2020

Biney surprises - Choi and Hwang in control after Day 1

Athletes from eight countries are in action this weekend at the Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal (Can) for the first edition of the ISU four continents short track championships. Action started Saturday with the competition on 1500m and 500m.

By Carl Savard
Photos by Tony Chung (@SHORTTRACKHD), Speed Skating Canada - Greg Kolz, 

Canada, the United States, Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines and Columbia  had skaters on the ice today for this historical first day of competition at the Four continents championships. European countries have been battling each others at the European championships since 1997. The creation of the Four continents championships gives equal opportunities for skaters outside of Europe to compete at the international level during the season.

An unexpected visitor on the podium on 1500m
USA's Maame Biney, Korea's Choi Min Jeong, Kim Alang and Seo Whi Min, Canada's Courtney Sarault and Camille de Serres-Rainville and Japan's Rina Yamana were on the starting line of this historical first final of these championships. If it was not a big surprise to see Koreans finishing first and second - Choi with the gold and Seo with the silver - not many would have bet on Maame Biney's presence on the podium on 1500m. The 19-year-old American was all smile entering the mixed zone after the race. "After having a really tough first half of a season, I had to go back home, recuperate, talk to a lot of people and figure out what I did wrong and it paid off. Last week I won the 1500m at the US championships and I thought it was just a one-time thing maybe, but a podium this weekend at the world level on this distance is really exciting!" Canada's Sarault and de Serres-Rainville respectively finished 5th and 7th.

Just like on the women's side, the three skaters from Korea skating the 1500m in the men's competition, Park Ji Won, Hwang Dae Heon, Kim Dagyeom all qualified for the big final on the distance. USA's Thomas Hong, Canada's Charles Hamelin and Steven Dubois and Columbia's Nicolas Laborde, well known by the Canadian fans as a strong inline speed skater, have also qualified for the A final. After thirteen and a half laps of action, Hwang Dae Heon finished first, Steven Dubois second and Thomas Hong third. Hong was satisfied with his performance. "I knew there was going to be a lot of passing and a lot of action and I tried to stay patient towards the back. Got pushed further back that I would have liked in the beginning but it kind of worked out and I was able to medal."

Korea and Canada fill up the podiums on 500m
The local fans had reasons to be excited as two of the four athletes in the A final of the women's 500m were Canadians. Alyson Charles and Courtney Sarault had to face the gold and bronze medallists of the 1500m Choi Min Jeong and Maame Biney. Charles and Sarault finished second and third behind Choi Min Jeong while Maame Biney was penalised preventing her from winning a medal on his favorite distance.

For the men on 500m, Korea had two skaters fighting against a Canadian and an American as Hwang Dae Heon, Kim Dagyeom, Steven Dubois and Thomas Hong all qualified for the big show. Hwang looked too strong for the pack leading the race with ease and finishing the race ahead of Dubois and Dagyeom. Dubois had good words for the winner after the race. "Hwang has been at the top for a few years now and he knows how to get the win. That's the biggest difference between him and me at the moment. I'm strong enough to get on the podium but knowing how to win races day in and day out is another level."

For full results, click HERE

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