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Drama and chaos on Day 3 at ISU Short Track World Cup******
BEIJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The 2021-22 season ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup witnessed a series of restarts, false starts and penalties, as none of the four finals finished in a clean run but a world record in the semifinal here on Saturday.
Semen Elistratov of Russia took the men's 1,500m gold after experiencing one restart each in both semifinals and final. World record holder and reigning Olympic champion Wu Dajing of China was ruled out of the men's 500m final for a second false start.
World record holder and Olympic gold medalist Choi Min-jeong led a group of three South Koreans in the women's 1,500m final to take the top three positions on the second-last lap after frequent lead changes.
It looked as if South Korea would have swept the podium with only half a lap to go but as they entered the last corner, Kim Ji-yoo's late change from the inside out caused contact with compatriot Choi, bringing both of them out of the play.
Third-placed Lee Yu-bin became the leader and claimed the gold in an unexpected way. Courtney Sarault of Canada and Kristen Santos of the United States took the silver and bronze, respectively.
The men's 1,500m saw one restart in the semifinals of Group 2, where the referee called back the race with only one lap to go as Frenchman Quentin Fercoq failed to stand up after being brought out of the track. World Cup winner Ren Ziwei of China, who almost took the win in the first run, failed to qualify for the final after the restart.
In the final, Shaolin Sandor Liu of Hungary was penalized for causing contact as he tried to pass from the inside on the 12th lap with only one and a half laps to go, which brought down four skaters and led to another restart on the day.
Sun Long of China took a do-or-die tactic after the restart as he burst out of the crowd and sped up only half a lap into the race, which seemed as if he was trying to take a full lap lead on his opponents, with only Stijn Desmet of Belgium joining.
Four laps later, Sun ran out of strength and soon fell to last. Desmet then took the lead for another five laps but was caught by the rest of the skaters.
An Kai of China overtook Desmet from the outside as they entered the third-last lap but it was Elistratov who crossed the finishing line first in his fourth run within an hour. Adil Galiakhmetov of Kazakhstan finished second, An placed third.
"This is an amazing victory," said Elistratov. "We trained very hard and I am grateful that the effort paid off today. I want to thank the Chinese people who paid tribute to all the athletes."
"The Olympic gold medal will only go to someone who really deserves it and someone who works honestly," the Russian added. "I really like this venue and I'll try my best to come here again during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics."
In the women's 500m, all Chinese athletes, including Qu Chunyu, Fan Kexin and Zhang Yuting qualified for the semifinals but nobody made it to the final.
A third restart of the day took place in the women's 500m final as Natalia Maliszewska of Poland stumbled on lap three in the leading position, while another three skaters went down later on the same lap.
In the restart, Maliszewska didn't let the chance slip away and performed a wire-to-wire win. Arianna Fontana of Italy and Choi took the silver and bronze respectively.
In the men's 500m, Wu, along with Canadian Jordan Pierre-Gilles, was penalized for a second false start, meaning that the three skaters remaining on the ice would each secure a medal even before the race started.
Hungarian Liu had no trouble leading from the beginning to the end to claim the gold, while his countryman John-Henry Krueger bagged the silver, Denis Nikisha of Kazakhstan took the bronze.
"It's a pity that I got penalized for a second false start," Wu said. "I did well in the previous rounds and I will work harder."
In the women's 3,000m relay semifinals, the Netherlands renewed the world record created by themselves at the PyeongChang Winter Games, with a time of four minutes and 02.809 seconds.
Team China advanced into the finals of both men's and women's relays to be held on Sunday. "We are aiming for the gold tomorrow in both the men's and women's races," said Ren. "We will do well on ourselves and focus on the details." Enditem
编辑 周世玲 校对 陆爱英