Hungary’s Liu brothers proved a class apart as they grabbed a double gold-silver in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. The duo swept to the top two places in the 1500m and the 500m, leaving the field gasping in their wake. In what was a remarkable display of controlled power, pace and tactical acumen, elder brother Shaolin Sandor Liu took the honours in the opening 1500m with Shaoang second before the places were reversed in the later 500m.
Semen Elistratov (RUS) at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Russia’s Semen Elistratov showed he is one of the few skaters who might prevent the Lius claiming a clean sweep when racing resumes on Sunday. He added a bronze in the 1500m taking his haul in these championships to a whopping 18 medals. Fellow Russian Pavel Sitnikov took bronze behind the Hungarians in the 500m.
Suzanne Schulting (NED) and Elise Christie (GBR) at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Home-town hero Suzanne Schulting (NED) powering to victory in the Ladies’ 1500m, the first final of the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships. The reigning Olympic 1000m champion, did not disappoint her legion of orange-clad fans as she shook off a surprise challenge from the revitalised Elise Christie (GBR) to claim her first ever individual European title. Russia’s Sofia Prosvirnova, a one-time figure skater, snatched the bronze medal, just ahead of Belgium’s exciting young talent Hanne Desmet.
In contrast to Schulting’s machine-like victory in the 1500m, the second Ladies final of the day, the 500m, highlighted the excitingly wild and unpredictable nature of Short Track. While Schulting had looked imperious through the 500m heats, a split-second call to try and overtake leader Natalia Maliszewska (POL) on the final bend left her on the ice and teammate Lara van Ruijven floundering in third, with no chance of catching the Pole.
Martina Valcepina (ITA) Natalia Maliszewska (POL) and Lara van Ruijv (NED) at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Dutch skater Suzanne Schulting sent the home crowd delirious with delight as she secured the overall title and led her team to relay glory on a high-octane final day of action at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships. Not only is Schulting the reigning Olympic champion at this distance but she also came into the European Championships having won every 1000m World Cup gold medal contested this season. But, after being penalised in her semifinal for changing lanes, the Dutch star was forced to watch from the sidelines as Russian rival Sofia Prosvirnova grabbed gold in the day’s opening event ahead of France’s Tifany Huot Marchand and a delighted Elise Christie (GBR).
It proved all the motivation Schulting needed to subsequently dominate the 3000m superfinal.
With the overall gold added to the 1500m crown she won on Saturday, the Ladies 3000m relay turned into a joyful procession for Schulting and the Dutch team who were cheered to the rafters throughout.
The home quartet finished half a lap clear of the Russians.
Yara Kerkhof, Rianne de Vries, Suzanne Schulting and Lara van Ruijven (NED) at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Hungary’s outstanding Liu brothers once again proved too good for the rest as the men’s events at the 2019 ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships finished with a familiar sight: Hungary atop the podium.
Having shared gold and silver between them in both the 1500m and 500m on the opening day of finals, Shaolin Sandor Liu stamped his unquestioned authority on proceedings on Sunday by waltzing to the overall individual title before teaming up with younger brother Shaoang Liu to lead his country home in the Men’s 5000m Relay.
Liu brothers before the 3000m race at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
The day had started with a surprise: a men’s final in which a Liu did not triumph. After Shaoang Liu had fallen in his semifinal, Shaolin Sandor had the unfamiliar sensation of racing for gold without his younger brother in the 1000m finale. It proved a step too far with Russia’s Semen Elistratov bursting past the elder Liu at the start of the final lap to claim a seventh European career gold medal.
Shaoang Liu and Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN) Semen Elistratov (RUS) at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships©International Skating Union (ISU)
Going into the 3000m superfinal with a healthy lead in the overall standings no doubt helped. Aware that neither Yuri Confortola (ITA) nor Vladislav Bykanov (ISR) – the eventual first and second place finishers – were a danger to the overall standings, the Lius were content to let the pair breakaway early and control the pack. The plan worked to perfection with Liu senior confirming overall gold and junior taking overall silver. Elistratov added the overall bronze to his collection before joining the parade of skaters in awe of the Hungarian duo.