After a tight, highly competitive race, the Republic of Korea’s Hwang Dae Heon jumped out of the pack in the closing stages to take gold in the men’s 1500m A Final at the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track in Dordrecht.
The Korean took full advantage of the absence of teammate Lim Hyo-Jun, who won gold in this event in the World Cup opener in Budapest last week, and finished ahead of Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN) and Canada’s Charles Hamelin.
Hwang, who won just a single World Cup event last season, manoeuvred himself skilfully into prime position on the bell and dominated the final lap. Rival Liu, 500m gold medallist last week, was delighted to finish in touch with the Korean.
“Last weekend I was eighth, so I was just pleased there were only six in this final!” the Hungarian laughed.
With crucial qualification points for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games up for grabs, Liu knew he needed a strong race. “I felt much stronger at the end but I was a bit scared to risk it all (on the last lap). I am really happy, it is not my strongest distance.
“Most people say second place is the first loser, but I am happy with that.”
Canadian veteran Hamelin continues to defy his age in a sport many see as primarily for the young. The 33-year-old, three-time Olympic gold medallist, was highly impressive in third. Teammate Samuel Girard, part of Canada’s 5000m relay-winning team in Budapest, was given a penalty for an infringement in the final.
KWAK Yoon Gy (KOR) won the 1500m mens B Final, ahead of the USA’s JR Celski in second and home favourite Itzhak de Laat (NED) in third.