The weekend kicked off on Saturday with the qualifying rounds: in both the ladies’ and men’s competition, the teams were divided into two qualifying brackets based on World Team Ranking. In each bracket of racing, the skaters would compete in the 1000 meters, 500 meters, 3000 meters and relay events. The winners of both qualifying brackets would automatically advance to the final of the Team Championships on Sunday, while the second and third place finishers of each qualifying brackets would compete in a repechage round, later in the day on Saturday. The top two finishers in the repechage rounds for both the ladies and men would advance to the finals of the Team Championships on Sunday.
In the ladies’ competition, the qualifying bracket No. 1 was composed of the teams from China, Korea, Japan and Russia, whereas the second qualifying bracket saw Canada, Italy, Poland and the United States racing each other. In the first bracket, China won the group by taking a total of 47 points. Korea finished second with 40 points, while Japan had to settle for third, with 19 points. The win allowed China to automatically advance to Sunday’s finals, while Korea and Japan had to qualify through the repechage round. In the qualifying bracket No. 2, Canada was the winner, earning a total of 42 points. The United States finished second with 39 points, while Italy finished third with 24 points. Both the United States and Italy had to go through the repechage round, while Canada automatically advanced to the finals.
In the ladies repechage round, Korea and the United States were the ones to qualify for Sunday’s finals by finishing first and second respectively. On the men’ side, it was Canada and Japan who qualified for the finals.
On Sunday, the finals of the Team Championships were all set to go. The ladies’ competition was close, with all four teams separated by only 13 points. Korea edged out China by a mere point to take the win in the competition. Korea finished with 35 points, whereas China earned 34 points. The United States took third place with 29 points. On the men’s side, it was again a close finish between Korea and China. With a total of 38 points, Korea took the win, ahead of China, who finished with 35 points. Canada completed the podium with 28 points.
The conclusion of the World Short Track Team Speed Skating Team Championships marks the end of the 2010-2011 season. For up-to-date news and information on Short Track Speed Skating, please visit www.isu.org
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse