China wins mixed team relay at Short Track Speed Skating World Cup

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The Chinese team clinched its first gold at the ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Salt Lake City after winning the mixed team relay on Saturday.

China faced big injury troubles prior to the tournament as leading skaters Wang Ye and Gong Li sat out due to cold and fever, while Lin Xiaojun suffered waist injury.

However, the new Chinese mixed relay team of Li Wenlong, Zhang Chutong, Zhong Yuchen and Wang Xinran, with an average age of 21, won in two minutes and 37.153 seconds, beating South Korea by 0.028 seconds. The United States finished third in 2:37.687, and the Netherlands settled fourth in 2:44.330.

Having a young roster, China will compete in all six legs of the World Cup, and Ni Huizhong, director of the Winter Sports Administrative Center of the General Administration of Sport of China, praised the young skaters: "We need to trust the young skaters and the process, they have just begun."

In the individual races, Li, the only Chinese skater to advance to a Group-A final, finished seventh in the men's 1,500m. Jens van 'T Wout of the Netherlands won the gold in 2:11.909. In the women's 1,500m, Kim Gil-li of South Korea won in 2:26.530.

Also on Saturday, Canadian Maxime Laoun won the men's 500m in 40.946 and his compatriot Kim Boutin claimed victory in the women's 500m in 43.095.

Sunday will see six finals in Salt Lake City.

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