Nagoya, Japan


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Kim Boutin has dominated the Ladies' 500m races so far this season © International Skating Union

Canada’s Kim Boutin led from start to finish in the Ladies’ 500m Final in Nagoya, making it three successive ISU World Cup Short Track Ladies’ 500m titles to begin the 2019/20 season.

It came on a day that also yielded a breakthrough gold medal for Hungary’s Shaoang Liu, another victory for Republic of Korea’s Park Ji Won and a return to form for Dutch superstar Suzanne Schulting.

After winning gold in the World Cup Ladies’ 500m event in Salt Lake City, then setting a world record to win in Montreal, Boutin was far too good for the field at Nippon Gaishi Arena on Sunday. She left Italy’s Arianna Fontana (silver) and Korea’s Kim Ji Yoo (bronze) to fight it out for the minor placings.

“That was perfect. I tried to be smooth and really control the race and I think it worked for me,” the 24-year-old said.

“It’s really nice because we work on it and it’s really great when you practise and then succeed on the ice in competition, so I’m really proud of that.”

Shanghai is next on the ISU World Cup Short Track circuit and Boutin has more gold in her sights.

“Yeah of course. I think it’s a really good opportunity to go to Shanghai. It’s great ice and I have a lot of things to work on and I’m very excited for the next competition,” she said.

“It’s been good work at training (that’s helped with the results) and my goal is to keep this focus, to keep strength and to be comfortable – and uncomfortable – to be better.”

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Hungary’s Shaoang Liu won his first 500m gold in Nagoya © International Skating Union

Liu speeds to gold for Hungary

There was an even more dominant performance in the Men’s 500m Final in Nagoya, with Hungary’s Liu earning himself such an advantage by the final turn that he had time to clap his hands together and clench his fists in celebration before he crossed the line.

Pavel Sitnikov of Russia won the silver medal and Park In Wook won the bronze medal for Republic of Korea.

“This is my first gold from the 500m, so I’m pretty happy for that,” Liu said.

“I was a bit nervous at the beginning but after that I got everything in my mind so it was pretty good.

“I think the first two World Cups didn’t go really well, so it was a big plus for me to win this and yesterday the silver medal (Men’s 1000m).”

Winner of that Men’s 1000m Final on Saturday, Park Ji Won of Korea, earned another gold for the weekend by winning the Men’s 1500m (2) on Sunday.

Park took the lead with little more than a lap to go and was successfully clear of the carnage that occurred on the final turn and left China’s An Kai, Canada’s Steven Dubois and Japan’s Kazuki Yoshinaga in a pile against the barriers.

That allowed Korea’s Lee June Seo to take the silver medal and Japan’s Ibuki Hayashi the bronze.

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Suzanne Schulting showed her class in the Ladies’ 1500m (2) Final © International Skating Union

Schulting’s plan pays off

Netherlands star Schulting bounced back to top spot on Sunday by winning the Ladies’ 1500m (2) Final.

With four laps to go, Schulting put some heat in the race and by the last two laps she had the lead. It was a position she did not relinquish, crossing the line for another World Cup gold medal, which she celebrated enthusiastically.

“I know I’m strong in the end and I know I’m able to skate those fast lap times in the end. That was my plan: relax in the beginning of the race and go home with gold in the end,” Schulting said.

“It means a lot. Yesterday I came second in the (Ladies’) 1000m and it was my first loss at the 1000m in the final that I actually skated.

“Of course I was a little disappointed so I wanted to do it right today and gold was the only thing that matters today. I took it and I’m so, so happy.”

Behind the dominant Dutchwoman, Courtney Lee Sarault of Canada took the silver medal and China's Han Yu Tong got the bronze.

China had to wait until the final medal race of the weekend in Nagoya to claim a gold, winning the Men’s 5000m Relay ahead of silver medalists Korea and bronze-medal winners Russia.

In the Ladies’ 3000m Relay, Italy took top spot after Korea were penalized, allowing Canada to win the silver medal and Russia the bronze.

Where to watch and follow the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating 2019/20

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ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Series events 2019/20:

Salt Lake City (USA) – November 1 - 2

Montréal (CAN) – November 8 – 10

Nagoya (JPN) – November 29 – December 1

Shanghai (CHN) – December 6 – 8

Dresden (GER) – February 7 – 9

Dordrecht (NED) – February 14 – 16