Almaty, Kazakhstan

 #OneHandDown               #WCShortTrack

Almaty’s inaugural ISU World Cup Short Track event features victories for some familiar names as well as medals for emerging talent from Hungary and the host nation.

Republic of Korea’s men started their Short Track World Cup campaign in Almaty strongly, winning four of Saturday’s six medals including a clean sweep in the 1500m final. Lim Hyojun (KOR), who won gold in the 1500m at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, made it back to the top of the podium in the Halyk Arena, flanked by teammates Kim Gun Woo(KOR) and Hwang Dae Heon (KOR), who came second and third respectively in a photo-finish. Korea repeated the clean sweep in the distance’s second competition on Sunday, Kim winning gold ahead of Hong Kyung Hwan (KOR) and Lee June Seo (KOR).

In the 1000m final Liu Shaoang (HUN) won the gold medal half a skate ahead of Sjinkie Knegt (NED). Lee June Seo (KOR) took the bronze medal.

Kim Geon Hee (KOR) won the Ladies 1500m final ahead of Ekaterina Efremenkova (RUS) and Li Jinyu (CHN) showing, she is right track. 

Claiming her third consecutive ISU Short Track World Cup 1000m gold medal, Suzanne Schulting (NED) showed her competitors that they will have to work hard to beat her in her favorite event this season. The second place was Boutin's first World Cup podium position this season as she works her way back into shape.

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Suzanne Schulting (NED) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Petra Jaszapati's (HUN) first individual World Cup victory was more of an upset. The 500m gold was perhaps most surprising for the 19-year-old herself. She led the final from start to finish, crossing the line more than seven seconds clear of Lara van Ruijven (NED) after the Dutch silver medallist, Natalia Maliszewska (POL) and Sofia Prosvirnova (RUS) crashed in the last lap, disqualifying the Russian.

In the weekend’s second Ladies’ 1500m final, the top duo was more expectedly the two overall World Cup leaders Choi Min Jeong (KOR) and Suzanne Schulting, who battled it out in the last two laps, Choi finishing first in 2:28.264, 56 thousands of a second clear of Schulting.

Kim Boutin (CAN) finished behind the two rivals in the 1500m (2) and led her Canadian team of Danae BlaisAlyson Charles and Camille de Serres-Rainville to a bronze in the Relay.

When Samuel Girard (CAN) returned to the podium for the first time this season, he did so with a bang, winning two gold medals and a silver on the final day of action at the ISU World Cup Short Track in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He led the 500m final from start to finish and got his fourth World Cup victory over the distance 14 hundredths of a second clear of Overall world ranking No.1 Shaoang Liu (HUN). Home favorite Abzal Azhgaliyev (KAZ) won bronze.

Less than an hour later, Girard sprinted past Lee June Seo (KOR) in the final meters of the 2000m Mixed Relay, winning gold with Cedrik Blais (CAN), Alyson Charles (CAN) and Kim Boutin (CAN) ahead of Republic of Korea after a photo finish. China won bronze.

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Men's 5000m Relay 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Shortly after, the 22-year-old was back on the ice with Pascal Dion (CAN), Steven Dubois (CAN) and Charles Hamelin (CAN), and winning silver in the Men’s 5000m Relay behind the Netherlands.