The third and final day of the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2015 resumed today in Moscow, Russia with both the ladies and men competing in the 1000m, 3,000m Super Final and Relay events. Minjeong Choi (Korea) was crowned the Lady World Short Track Speed Skating Champion, while Sjinkie Knegt (Netherlands) earned the honors as World Short Track Speed Skating Champion on the men’ side. This was the first individual World Championship title for the Netherlands since Peter van der Velde won the title in 1988.
Minjeong Choi finished the weekend with 89 points and two gold medals. Arianna Fontana (ITA) finished second overall with 68 points. Defending World champion Suk Hee Shim (KOR) concluded the weekend in third place overall with 47 points.
On the men’s side, Sjinkie Knegt was crowned the champion despite accumulating the same number of points as Se Yeong Park (KOR): both skaters earned 63 points. Dajing Wu (CHN) finished in third place overall with 55 points.
Korean skaters claim gold in both the ladies and men 1000 m events
In the Ladies 1000 m event, Minjeong Choi (KOR) began her quest towards the championship title with a gold medal performance. Choi, who started the day in third place overall, took the lead in the race with five laps to go. She crossed the finish line ahead of Elise Christie (GBR). Championship leader Arianna Fontana (ITA) added to her overall points tally with a bronze medal performance in the event.
Se Yeong Park (KOR) won the Men’s 1000 m event; Park took advantage of a last lap contact between his teammate Da Woon Sin and Charles Hamelin (CAN). Da Woon Sin was awarded a penalty, and Hamelin managed to hold onto the second place position for a silver medal. Jingnan Shi (CHN) finished in third place. Dajing Wu earned some valuable championship points with a fourth place finish. Park, Hamelin and Wu benefited from the fact that both Semen Elistratov (RUS) and Sjinkie Knegt (NED), the top two skaters in the overall classification, did not score any championship points in the 1000 m event.
Minjeong Choi (KOR) wins second event of the day to clinch overall title
Entering the last event of these championships, the top five skaters in the overall ranking were still in contention for the championship title. Arianna Fontana had a lead of five points over Minjeong Choi, and 18 points over Elise Christie. The race was going to be a tough challenge for Fontana, with eight skaters to contend with, three of them being Korean skaters who are best known for their strong performances in the longer events. At the end of the 27-lap race, the Korean skaters swept the podium, as Choi crossed the finish line in first place, to clinch the overall championship title. Suk Hee Shim finished in second place, while Alang Kim was third. Arianna Fontana finished in fourth place, to clinch second place in the overall classification. Suk Hee Shim’s finish in the event provided her with enough points to step onto the third podium step in the overall ranking. Kexin Fan (CHN) earned the Super Final’s bonus points.
Sjinkie Knegt (NED) wins the Men’s Super Final to clinch overall title
As eight skaters were called to the start line in the Men’s Super Final, only 13 points separated the top five skaters in the overall ranking. Se Yeong Park (KOR) started the race with the championship lead, tied in points with Dajing Wu (CHN), while Charles Hamelin (CAN) was in third place. All eight skaters took turns at the front of the pack, and the race came down to the wire: Sjinkie Knegt (NED) outstretched his right leg, to cross the finish line ahead of Se Yeong Park. Dajing Wu finished the race in third place, to leapfrog Charles Hamelin in the overall ranking, for third place. Hamelin ended the weekend with a fourth place finish in the Super Final event. Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN) earned the five bonus points awarded in the intermediary sprint in the event.
These World championships concluded with the Relay finals. The ladies 3000 meters Relay was won by Korea, who had battled China throughout the entire race. Italy earned a bronze medal for the second consecutive year. Korea’s win puts an end to China’s streak of four consecutive titles as Ladies World Short Track Speed Skating Relay Champion.
In the men 5000 meters relay final, China led all but one lap to clinch the title of World Short Track Speed Skating Relay Champion. The team from China held onto the lead despite a late charge by Hungary: a margin the length of a blade separated the two teams. The defending Relay champions, the Netherlands, earned a bronze medal, while Korea finished in fourth place.
This event concludes the 2014/15 ISU Short Track Speed Skating season.