China’s Wu Dajing gave the partisan crowd something to cheer about on day one of Shanghai’s Audi ISU World Cup Short Track event by winning a breakneck men's 500m final.
The roar was raised several decibels by a victory achieved at the expense of two Koreans – Seo Yi Ra and Kim Do Kyoum – who had to settle for second and third.
“Actually, I knew where they were the whole race. I just had to use my speed,” Wu said.
But the two-time Olympic medallist was not ready to be drawn into talk of a rivalry.
“At that moment I just saw them as any two opponents. My opponents are all the same. They just happen to be from the same country. Anyone behind me is an enemy,” he added.
Wu’s gold is only China’s second individual medal this world cup season. Their relay teams have fared better, medalling in three of the four races so far.
“I feel we’re getting into shape now that the Olympics is nearing," Wu said. [But] my condition is still not great and I need more races.”
World champion Seo had a day to forget. He missed out on the podium in the 1500m and here was pipped to gold.
“In the 1500m, not getting a medal was a bit of a regret. In the 500m, getting a silver and not gold is a bit of a regret, too, but overall I'm satisfied,” he said.
Kim, with his second bronze of the day, was a lot more grateful.
He said, “I want to thank Team Korea for their support. Everyone, thank you.”
None of the 500m medallists in Budapest and Dordrecht qualified for the A final this time.