China’s desperate lunge at the final corner almost produced the perfect response to losing one of their relay members to injury.
It fell agonisingly short, however, as Korea edged them to the ladies’ 3000m relay gold in a photo finish at the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track in Shanghai.
The desperate move in front of a vociferous home crowd did see the Chinese overtake Canada, who was later penalised, sending the bronze to Italy.
“Every round has been challenging, not just the final,” said Fan Kexin (CHN), one of several team members who were in tears after the race.
“We’ve prepared for various scenarios during training. Anyone in this team can step up to the challenge because we are very united.”
Original lead skater Zang Yize was injured in Saturday’s 500m event. The remaining skaters gestured “14” – Zang’s number – during the medal ceremony.
“We actually skated a good race but under these circumstances…” said Zhou Yang (CHN), the veteran of the squad, choking back tears.
Zang’s replacement Guo Yihan added: “I don’t see myself as having a special contribution. I just do to the best of my abilities. Today we felt like Zang Yize was here skating with us.”
Italy’s bronze gave their star skater Arianna Fontana her third medal in Shanghai.
Describing the sport as unpredictable, she said: “Anything can happen and it showed today.
“I saw right away the referee was checking the video so maybe something happened but we did a good relay, we were in front, we were passing.”
Hungary won the B final.