ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup: Updates after final day of competition

People's Republic of China's REN Ziwei among the big winners on the final day of the World Cup meet in Nagoya. Netherlands' Suzanne Schulting fails to top the women's 1000m podium for first time in 10 races. 

By Sean McAlister
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The International Skating Union (ISU) Short Track Speed Skating World Cup came to an end today (31 October) in Nagoya, Japan, with People's Republic of China's REN Ziwei stepping onto the podium three times on a thrilling final day of action.

The contest in Japan is the second of four stages of the qualifying competition for the Olympic Winter Games.

Ren was out in a league of his own in the 1000m race, leading from the front to bring home the gold medal in one minute 26.297 seconds, ahead of the Netherlands' Itzhak de Laat (1:26.533) and Canada's Pascal Dion who was third in 1:26.554.

In the 5000m relay final, Ren once again made it onto the podium, but couldn't add a second gold to his collection after the Canadian team anchor Steven Dubois caught People's Republic of China's LI Wenlong at the last corner to secure gold for Canada. It meant Ren left the competition with one gold and three silver medals following second-place finishes in Sunday's 2,000m mixed relay and Saturday's 1500m final.

There was a surprise in the women's 1000m final as the USA's Kristen Santos took gold (1:30.013) ahead of pre-race favourite and Olympic champion Suzanne Schulting who finished second in 1:30.077. It ended a run of 10 international wins in a row for Dutch skater Schulting, who described the race as a "bit of a rollercoaster" after a change in approach to the race left her on the second step of the podium.

For Santos, the race represented a first-ever World Cup victory and leaves her in a strong position to push on with less than 100 days until the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

In the men's 5,000m final, Canada took the gold after Pascal Dion, Charles Hamelin, Steven Dubois, and Jordan Pierre-Gilles came home in 52.272, finishing ahead of People's Republic of China (6:52.285) and Hungary (6:52.386).

In a media release after the event, Pierre-Gilles spoke about his elation at securing victory, saying: "Winning the gold medal is an incredible feeling and is a great end to our trip in Asia. We are all excited for what comes next, but we'll start by celebrating a bit and appreciating this win."

His teammate Dion spoke about the progression he has made in individual races that led him to reach the podium in the 1000m race.

"I think that if everything is aligned I am capable of producing good races and I proved that over the past two weekends. At the international level, I have never been very confident in individual races, but now I've seen what I am capable of. I worked on my weak points over the past two years and that is showing."

The 2000m mixed relay final was won by the Russian team in 2:43.202, ahead of People's Republic of China (2:43.460) and Hungary (2:43.568).

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