The International Skating Union (ISU) Short Track Speed Skating World Cup kicked off today (28 October) in Nagoya, Japan with qualifying rounds and quarter-finals in several events.
The contest in Japan is the second of four stages of the qualifying competition for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Vladislav Bykanov was arguably the star of the day as the Israeli produced the top time in the quarter-finals of the men's 1500m (2:16.379) to progress to Saturday's semi-finals in pole position.
Italy's Yuri Confortola finished just behind Bykanov with a time of 2:17.181 to claim second place and secure an automatic berth to the semi-finals.
Bykanov also competed in the men's 500m, but finished bottom of his heat and failed to progress. Canadian Steven Dubois qualified for the quarter-finals with the fastest time at 40.967, while current World Cup leader and 5000m Olympic gold medallist Sandor Shaolin Liu of Hungary also progressed.
The quarter-finals of the women's 1500m saw Kim Ji-yoo (KOR) advance with the fastest time of 2:23.634, closely followed by PyeongChang 2018 1000m champion Suzanne Schulting (NED), who comfortably won her heat in 2:23.831. Lee Yu-bin (KOR), who won the season's first 1500m World Cup event in Beijing, is also into Saturday's semi-finals thanks to her qualifying time of 2:40.502.
In the women's 500m, Natalia Maliszewska (POL) - who won the event in Beijing a week ago - has carried her good form into Japan, qualifying for the quarter-finals with a time of 43.484.
PyoengChang 500m bronze medallist Kim Boutin (CAN) recorded the fastest time in 43.211, while Schulting remains a major threat in the event as she advanced.
Schulting wasn't done for the day, however, as she led a powerhouse Netherlands team of Yara van Kerkhof, Jens van 't Wout and Melle van 't Wout to the fastest time (2:41.122) in the quarter-finals of the mixed 2000m relay.
Competition at the World Cup in Nagoya continues tomorrow, 29 October, beginning with the women's 1000m preliminaries at 10:30 am local time.