The ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2015 will open in Moscow, Russia on March 13. Although Russia has hosted many ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Events, it is the first time that they host the World Championships. 126 skaters from 29 ISU Members have been entered for the Championships that will take place in the Speed Skating Centre “Krylatskoe”. The competition starts on Friday with the Ladies and Men qualifying rounds and on Saturday and Sunday the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Finals will take place.
In the Ladies’ field, reigning Overall World Champion Suk Hee-Shim (KOR) dominated the Championships last year by winning the Ladies 500, 1500 and 1000 meter titles. Her teammate Minjeong Choi had a strong season and won a number of gold and silver medals on the World Cup circuit, Alang Kim and Ji-Soo Jeon are also very strong. 2014 Overall bronze medalist Valerie Maltais (CAN) will aim to get a step closer to gold. Other contenders for a title are five time European Champion and Olympic 500m silver and 1500m bronze medalist Arianna Fontana (ITA) the Chinese also have a strong team including Olympic 1000m silver medalist Fan Kexin (CHN) and 1500m Olympic gold medalist Yang Zhou . Reigning European Champion Elise Christie (GBR) will be after a World title and will face stiff competition from Marianne St-Gelais (CAN).
The reigning Relay Champions China will have to face Canada and Italy who are the 2015 silver and bronze medalists respectively. Other contenders are Japan, Korea, Hungary and Russia.
The reigning World overall Men’s Champion, 500 and 1000 meter Olympic Champion Victor An (RUS) has not had the strongest of seasons and but he will aim to maintain his title in front of a home crowd. 2015 overall bronze medalist and 1500 m Olympic Champion Charles Hamelin (CAN) will also seek gold. Two time European Champion Sjinkie Knegt (NED) and his teammate Freek Van der Wart will be aiming for medals. China also has a strong team on the men’s side with 2013 Overall World Champion and 500 m Olympic silver medalist Dajing Wu and Tianyu Han who won the 1500m Olympic silver medal and Dequan Chen has had a decent season so far. Olivier Jean and Guillaume Bastille complete the potential medalists from team Canada and the powerful Russian team will also be a forced to reckon with Semen Elistratov, Vladimir Grigorev 1000 m Olympic silver medalist, and Dmitry Migunov who has had a strong season.
Team Netherlands are the reigning Relay Champions, followed by Korean and Great Britain. All teams will be present to defend their medals and will compete against Canada, China, Hungary, Japan, Russia and USA.
At the World Championships both allround and single distance titles are up for grabs. The allround classification is based on the results of each skater in the three individual distances 500m, 1000m, 1500m and if qualified the 3000m Super Final. Only the top eight point scorers and ties on the eighth position after the completion of the three first distances will skate the 3000m Super Final. For the individual distances the final points 34, 21, 13, 8, 5, 3, 2 and 1 are awarded in descending order commencing with the first place. No points are awarded to skaters who receive a yellow or red card or failed to finish the race. The winner of the Final race of each individual distance is declared World Champion over that particular distance. Ten World Champion titles will be given out, overall Ladies and Men and in each of the following distances: 500m, 1000m, 1500m Ladies and Men, overall Ladies and Men, Relay Men, Relay Ladies, no award is given for the 3000m Final.
The schedule of the ISU World Short Track Championships 2015 is as follows:
Friday, March 13: Qualifying Rounds 1500, 500, 1000 meters Ladies & Men
Saturday, March 14: Ranking Races 1500 and 500 meters Ladies and Men, Semi-Finals & Finals 1500 meters Ladies & Men, Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals & Finals 500 meters Ladies & Men, Semi-Finals 3000 meters Relay Ladies, Semi-Finals 5000 meters Relay Men
Sunday, March 15: Ranking Races 1000 meters Ladies and Men, Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals & Finals 1000 meters Ladies & Men, Super-Finals 3000 meters Ladies & Men Finals, 3000 meters Relay Ladies Finals 5000 meters Relay Men