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China reaches 100th-gold milestone at short-track speed skating worlds

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-03-17 13:26
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Sun Long (4th L) of China competes during the men's 1500m final A at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2024 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, March 16, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

ROTTERDAM -- It was an honorable day for the Chinese short-track speed skating team on Saturday as Sun Long's victory in the men's 1,500m final at the World Championships in Rotterdam marked the 100th gold medal won by the team in the tournament's history.

It didn't take long for the Chinese team to go further as Lin Xiaojun won the men's 500m gold only two hours later, raising China's gold tally to 101.

"It's a great honor to win the 100th gold for China. As we have said many times before. You can always believe in China's short track speed skating team," said an emotional Sun after his final.

This great journey started in 1989 when Guo Hongru won the women's 3,000m to claim China's first gold medal in the world championships in Solihull, UK.

As one of China's most decorated national teams in winter sports, the short track outfit has produced many great skaters over the past few decades. Among them, the most dazzling star is Yang Yang - China's first Winter Olympic gold medalist who was also invincible at the World Championships, sweeping 32 titles in total.

"I believe the numbers will get bigger and bigger, and the team will continue to improve. For us, this is just another new beginning," the 23-year-old Sun added.

It was a roller-coaster day for Sun as he fell on the last corner before the finish line in the semifinal. After a nail-biting wait, the referee penalized the Italian skater Pietro Sighel for a foul, allowing Sun to advance to the final A.

In the final, Sun crossed the line in second place, but the leading South Korean, Hwang Daeheon, was penalized for foul, making his result invalid and handing the gold to Sun.

"This is the charm of short-track speed skating. There are many unexpected things on the track, and it's important to summarize each collision promptly, analyze the problem, and try to prevent such accidents from happening to oneself in the next race," Sun said.

"Always keep a broad view on the track and observe the position of each competitor. During the final, I saw them (Hwang Dae-heon and Park Ji-won) collide, but I didn't rely on luck and still aimed for the championship," he said. "We had prepared a very detailed game plan for the final, which helped me a lot."

Local skater Jens van't Wout timed 2:23.260 to take the silver, while Australia's Brendan Corey finished third in 2:23.428.

Olympic champion Lin added another title for China two hours later, as he triumphed in the men's 500m event, bringing his tally of world championships gold medals to seven.

The 27-year-old finished in 41.592 seconds, while Kazakhstan's Denis Nikisha came second in 41.676. The bronze medal went to Canada's Jordan Pierre-Gilles who clocked 52.289.

In the women's 1,500m event, China's Gong Li made it into the final but failed to reach the podium. South Korea's Kim Gil-li won the title with a time of 2:21.192, followed by Kristen Santos-Griswold and Corinne Stoddard.

Chinese skaters Fan Kexin and Wang Ye, competing in women's 500m, both advanced to the semifinals but neither made it to the final.

Canada's Kim Boutin, Dutchwoman Van Berkel and Santos-Griswold finished top three in the final.

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