The irrepressible Choi Min Jeong (KOR) proved that a week is not a long time in short track speed skating by picking up where she left off, winning the opening A Final of the weekend, the ladies 1500m, at the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track event in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
After claiming three individual gold medals in the season-opening event in Budapest, Choi admitted she felt “a little more calm” on the start line for the 1500m on Saturday afternoon. And so it proved. The Republic of Korea star controlled things from halfway and, frankly, never looked in any danger. Canada’s Valerie Maltais split Choi from her teammate, grabbing the silver ahead of Shim Suk Hee (KOR).
“I do feel great,” Choi said, “Not unbeatable but great. I didn’t expect to win, I was just doing my best. I am trying to feel more calm, with less pressure on the ice.”
Maltais had a slow start in Budapest last week, but with two compatriots joining her in the final, she shook off any early-season rust.
“It was a really strategic race, I was happy the way we raced with three Canadians together,” Maltais said. “From last week to this, I felt more confident in my strategy to save everything for the end.”
When pressed on whether the Canadians had a team strategy in place to try and defeat the invincible Choi, a smiling Maltais replied: “No, no team strategy, but we did make sure we didn’t bump into each other.”
In the B Final, Choi’s teammate Kim A Lang finished first, ahead of Jorien ter Mors (NED) and Sofia Prosvirnova (RUS).
2017 ISU 1500m World Champion Elise Christie fell and was penalised in the opening semi-final, continuing a miserable start to the Audi ISU World Cup series for one of the favourites for gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. In the season-opening event in Budapest last week, the Briton, who was suffering from a minor leg injury, had a best finish of third in the 1000m. According to the British team, the fall has not worsened any injury, and she lines up in the 500m semi-finals later today.