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Sports / China

Refreshed Wang Meng shines at ISU Shanghai leg

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-10 10:29

SHANGHAI - With a 500-meter gold and a 1,000m silver, Chinese star speedskater Wang Meng delighted home crowds at the Shanghai leg of the ISU Short Track World Cup on Sunday.

Wang's 5,00m title on Sunday is her fourth straight victory over the distance in the six legs of the ISU World Cup, though the 1000m silver was her first podium finish in the event of this season.

Refreshed Wang Meng shines at ISU Shanghai leg

Wang Meng reacts after winning the women's 500m final during the ISU Short Track World Cup speed skating competition in Shanghai, Dec 9, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

"I don't think I have any clear edge over others in the 500m. We are roughly at the same level," said Wang.

Wang established an early lead in the 500m final with her younger teammate Fan Kexin as the other two competitors slipped out of contention shortly after the start.

The 28-year-old Wang attributed her comfortable victory to teamwork.

"The Canadian skaters are strong in short and middle distance. My teammate Fan helped me a lot in the final as she broke the rhythm of the Canadians. Without her help, my race couldn't have been so smooth," she said.

The Chinese fans hailed Wang's return, as the World Cup Shanghai leg is the first international competition in which she participated on home soil after a 13-month suspension.

The four-time Olympic champion was expelled from the Chinese national team last year for punching team manager after breaking the team rules and returning to the team base drunk. She was also banned from competitions including the National Winter Games in January and the short-track Worlds in March and only had her suspension lifted in September.

Once a hot-tempered girl, Wang now looks modest and prudent.

"I've learned lessons from the incident," said the 28-year-old. "I went through a lot of things after the Vancouver Olympics, and I will turn 30 by the next Winter Olympics. I wish I could make up for the lost time to prepare for it."

Wang, the disputed backbone of the Chinese short-track team, said she has felt a lot of pressure from the younger generation.

"I had been off the rink for more than a year, and at the same time some young athletes made huge progress, especially some foreign athletes. But the support of the audience encouraged me a lot," she said.

"I know that people have high expectation on me and want me to break the world record, but it is not realistic now since I just came back to training for two months. I need more time.

"I don't need to prove myself with a world title, but I want to win. If I have a chance, I will never give up."

Li Yan, head coach of the Chinese short track team, was satisfied with Wang's form.

"She just came back to the national team for less than two months, and I think she was doing great," she said. "We have already lost some times, so we need to train very hard to fix it."

Related stories about Wang Meng:

Wang Meng claims third straight win at World Cup

Wang Meng attends first national team training after suspension

Wang Meng finishes third after fall

 

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