After a superlative weekend of racing in Nagoya, Japan, the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating hops over to Shanghai, China for the second installment of its Asian double-header from 6-8 December.
While we may be on Chinese ice, most observers will be expecting another display of power from the Republic of Korea this coming weekend.
In Japan, the Koreans illustrated just how mighty their squad is. With Men’s 500m ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Champion and No.1-ranked Hwang Dae Heon not competing, and leading lady Choi Min Jeong struggling for form, the rest of the field might have believed that Short Track Speed Skating’s leading nation were vulnerable.
Exactly the opposite was true. On day one, Korea won all five gold medals available - thanks to a mixture of experienced Olympians and exciting newcomers.
Kim Ji Yoo has stood out this season, and the 20-year-old is in the form of her life. She won the 1500m in Nagoya, repeating her great result and performance in the same distance in Montreal earlier this season.
Kim Ji Yoo (KOR) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (JPN) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Park Ji Won is also enjoying his best year to date: the 23-year-old was dazzlingly quick and tactically shrewd as he picked up gold in both the Men’s 1000m and 1500m (2).
Park Ji Won (KOR) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (JPN) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Noh Ah Rum took the Ladies’ 1000m gold, beating ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Champion Suzanne Schulting (NED) with a bold, late pass. Rum has been largely anonymous for the past two seasons – her only other ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating individual gold came in 2016/17, and she missed the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games – but last weekend the 27-year-old looked like a world-beater.
And there was a new name to add to the list of lightning-fast Koreans, too: Kim Dong Wook. He was tactically brilliant as he swept to the 1500m gold.
Kim Boutin (CAN) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (JPN) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
The season’s standout skater so far, however, remains a Canadian. Kim Boutin clinched her third successive 500m gold of the season in Nagoya, and will be confident of a fourth in Shanghai: nobody can match her raw speed at the moment – although a resurgent Arianna Fontana (ITA) is giving it a good try.
“I think it’s a really good opportunity to go to Shanghai,” says Boutin about this weekend. “It’s great ice and I have a lot of things to work on. I’m very excited.”
Elsewhere, Schulting looks to be returning to top speed moving into the new year. She performed with trademark power and timing in Nagoya, winning the 1500m (2) to offset the disappointment of a rare loss in the 1000m.
Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (CAN) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
In the Men’s field, the duo looking most likely to break the Korean supremacy remain Hungarian brothers Shaoang and Shaolin Sandor Liu. Shaolin Sandor is the most consistent 500m skater of the season so far, while Shaoang won the gold in the same distance in Japan.
There should be plenty to cheer about for the home crowd, too. In the Ladies’ field, China’s Han Yu Tong has been consistently excellent in the 1500m and 1000m, while Qu Chunyu has been a real challenger in the 500m.
Qu Chunyu (CHN) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (USA) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Just over two years out from an Olympic Winter Games down the road in Beijing, it’s an exciting time for Short Track Speed Skating on Chinese ice.
Wu Dajing (CHN) at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating (JPN) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Where to watch and follow the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating 2019/20?
Viewers will be able to watch via their national broadcaster/channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. You will find the full list in the Where to watch news here.
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Highlights, clips, interviews, behind the scenes:
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For further information on ISU Short Track Speed Skating visit: https://www.isu.org/short-track.
ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Series events 2019/20: