China's aces Wu, Fan won slivers at short track speed skating worlds

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China's Olympic gold medalist Wu Dajing and world champion Fan Kexin won the men's and the women's 500m slivers respectively after dramatic finals on Saturday at 2019 Short Track Speed Skating World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The men's 500m final A has been dramatically restarted three times since false starts and crash. Hungarian Olympic winner Liu Shaolin was fouled out as the second skater to false start, and then Wu Dajing and Hwang Dae Heon of South Korea had a severe crash and both tumbled on the rink to force a third restart.

As the starting gun was fired once again, Hwang Dae Heon made a strong start and kept the lead before winning the gold medal with a time of 42.490 seconds. Wu, who refreshed the world record by clocking 39.505 this season, suffered from physical exhaustion and finished second in 42.725. Wu's teammate Ren Ziwei got the bronze in 42.888.

The drama also happened in the women's 500m race final A, which witnessed Chinese world champion Fan Kexin initially ranking third in 43.427 seconds, trailing behind Martina Valcepina of Italy and Dutch skater Lara Van Ruijven. However, Valcepina was given a penalty due to a foul right before the finish line to send Fan to the second place and Ruijven, who finished in 43.267, to win the championship.

The men's and women's 1,500m circuits were dominated by South Koreans. In the women's 1,500m final A, the first final in the three-day world-class skating, South Korean skater Choi Min Jeong, the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic gold medalist over the distance, surpassed Kim Boutin of Canada two laps to top the podium in 2 minutes and 29.741 minutes.

Later on, Lim Hyo Jun from South Korea, who secured the men's overall No. 1 slot by the end of the season, finished first in the men's 1,500m final A in 2:31.632 ahead of another Canadian Samuel Girard and his compatriot Lee June Seo.

The Netherlands, Russia, South Korea and Canada powered into the women's 3,000m relay final A, while Russia, South Korea, China and Hungary will meet up in the men's 5,000m relay final A.

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