Young Canadians impress on home turf

Young Canadians impress on home turf
By Sportsbeat

04/11/2018 at 20:37Updated 04/11/2018 at 21:06

It was an occasion for the home support at the ISU Short Track World Cup in Calgary as young Canadian skaters Courtney Lee Sarault and Alyson Charles both fought their way to the podium.

Sarault and Charles were making their World Cup debuts in front of home support at the Calgary Olympic Oval and had qualified well on Friday before bringing home medals in the 1500m final.

Sarault finished just 0.001 seconds behind Olympic 100m champion Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands to take silver, while Charles took bronze.

"I thought I had her, but she just squeezed by," said Sarault, after the race. "I'm always striving for the best, so I'm a little disappointed with how the ending turned out, but I really wasn't expecting this yesterday.

"I was like, a centimetre away from a gold medal, and for my first World Cup, that's really amazing. I need to work on my finish a little bit, and I'll be set."

After winning a surprise Olympic gold at PyeongChang 2018 Schulting picked up victory in the first World Cup event of the season, as did Poland's Natalia Maliszewska, who won the women's 500m final.

Netherlands' Yara van Kerkhof skated to silver and Charles once again took bronze behind Maliszewska.

In the men's events, China's Wu Dajing proved he's still the man to beat over speed skating's shortest distance as he raced to victory in the 500m final.

Wu's time of 39.836 seconds may have been comfortably inside the world record of 39.584 he set when winning gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in February, but he still had far too much for Shaoang Liu and South Korea's Kim Gun Woo, who trailed in behind to take silver and bronze respectively.

"It feels so good to be a champion again," Wu said after the race. "I went out hard at the start, and I knew they wouldn't be able to catch me."

In the men's 1500m, 19-year-old Kazuki Yoshinaga of Japan enjoyed the biggest triumph of his young career, claiming his first ever World Cup title ahead of South Korea's June Seo Lee and Israel's Vladislav Bykanov.