Wu returns to form in 500m short track speed skating

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Wu Dajing of China stamped his authority on the men's 500m at the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Shanghai on Saturday.

In a pulsating race featuring two South Koreans Seo Yi Ra and Kim Do Kyoum and the Olympic champion Charles Hammelin, the 23-year-old Wu managed it spectacularly, going out hard from the front and holding off the endless pressing of the South Koreans to clinch the gold medal in 40.010 seconds.

Seo, the 2017 world champion in men's 1,000m, finished second in 40.262 while his compatriot Kim settled for the bronze.

"I do feel better and better now, and I hope I'll skate more strongly later in Seoul," Wu said.

"Chinese skaters showed their improvement in Shanghai, and Wu's skating skills helped him to win the gold," said Seo.

In women's 500m final, Kim Boutin of Canada pocketed the gold medal in 43.772 as veteran Arianna Fontana of Italy settled for the silver in 43.815. Sofia Prosvirnova of Russia took the bronze in 43.884.

Fan Kexin of China, the Olympic silver medalist in Sochi, was unexpectedly ousted in the semifinals as she got the penalty due to a second false start.

"Fan made a very stupid mistake today. We must avoid such a thing in the future," said the head coach Li Yan.

South Korea's rising star Hwang Dae Heon pulled off a stunning move in the final corner to jump from third to catch the gold in the men's 1,500m final in 2:22.754.

The 18-year-old kept his grip on the distance this season, leaving Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands and his compatriot Kim Do Kyoum to settle for the silver and bronze respectively.

"This is my first World Cup medal, so I feel proud. But I was still a little bit nervous," Kim said.

South Korean women claimed a 1-2 finish in the 1,500m final as Shim Suk Hee took the gold in 2:31.490, ahead of her compatriot Choi Min Jeong. Marianne St-Gelais claimed the bronze.

"It's good. The reason I'm happy is that through this race I can be sure of my ability. Now I feel very confident," Shim said after she won her second gold this season.

In the team relay semifinals, China earned the finals spots both in men's 5,000m relay and women's 3,000m relay.

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