World No.1 Shim Suk Hee (KOR) stamped her authority on the 1000m in the opening final of day two at the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track event in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
In a pulsating race featuring two skaters representing the Republic of Korea and two Dutch athletes, Shim had to battle against a vociferous, passionate crowd as well as her opponents. The 20–year-old managed it spectacularly, going out hard from the front and holding off the endless pressing of the orange ladies, Suzanne Schulting (NED) and Yara van Kerkhof (NED).
Strong and smooth, Shim took gold ahead of Schulting with van Kerkhof pipped for bronze by Lee Yu Bin (KOR) in a photo-finish.
“I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I didn’t let it affect me, it was great,” Shim said.
The Korean is well aware that bigger tests lie ahead and knows that every victory is a small step on the road to possible Olympic glory.
“I am learning every day and preparing every day to get ready for the Olympic Games and to win gold,” she said.
So focused is Shim on PyeongChang 2018 that she recently changed the last four digits of her mobile phone number to ‘2018’. The gold medal represented a strong return to form for Shim before the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track moves to Asia in November.
Schulting squeezed every drop of inspiration out of the screams of the packed Sportboulevard arena and loved every moment.
“I love the crowds here and in Rotterdam, they are so loud, so passionate,” Schulting said. “They are amazing.”
Lee was awarded the bronze medal by the minute margin of 0.001 seconds.
In the B Final Valerie Maltais (CAN) proved far too strong for home favourite Lara van Ruijven (NED) and Great Britain’s Charlotte Gilmartin. Marianne St-Gelais, Saturday’s 500m winner, did not start.