This was the first time in the history of the sport that a Hungarian rider achieved great success in the World Cup. Over the past 20 years – in Montreal only – South Korean Kim Tong-sung has made the men’s feat to triumph in all three numbers and pools, as now with Liu Shaoang.
Two-time Olympic champion Liu, who won all 13 races in the Canadian city, took his fifth and sixth World Cup gold medal in his career after not finding a winner in the 500m and overall last year.
From Hungary’s point of view, the quarter-finals were very lucky, with Pence Nogrady ahead of his rivals, but three of them fell to him, so he finished second. In the final race, Peter Gaspate co-starred with Liu Chawang, leading the way for the last five laps, and keeping his 100 per cent balanced in the current World Cup. However, the young rider who skated last can also be happy, because two people fell after Sjinkie Knegt’s foul and the Dutchman was eliminated, meaning he finished second as well.
The singles show for 24-year-old Ferencvaros continued in the semi-finals. At the start of the distance, he was seeded at the end of the six-man field and then easily played ahead of his rivals, maintaining his clean balance in the Canadian city. Figure skater Pence Nogrady, who was skating with him, finished fifth, that is, he qualified for the minor finals, just as Peter Yassapte was also fifth in the other semi-finals.
Nor the final challenge to Liu Shuang, who advanced five laps before the end.
Behind him, two South Koreans “travelled”, but they seemed to be aware of the difference, so they didn’t even try to stop him, but rather looked back further to defend their position and currency.
In the small final, Nógrádi and Jászapáti could not have had a say in the fate of the best places, so they finished ninth and tenth.
In the women’s case, Hungary’s Petra Gaszapaty and Zofia Konya reached the same quarter-finals. The first tried to advance, skatering briefly in the lead, while the second finished fifth and fifth from start to finish of the race. Jászapát was overtaken by German Anna Seidel in a collision, and the jockey from Szeged was in a hurry as she slipped back to fourth. From there, he came in third by overtaking Dutchman Jara van Kerkhove, but the jury found the maneuvering to be erratic, so he disqualified Jászapáti, who did not trust his lead in terms of time. Konya ranked 16th and Gaspati 19th.
In the women’s final, Choi Min Jung won using her usual tactics: she was ahead of Kim Putin, who was in front of the local crowd. The 23-year-old South Korean runner took his 14th gold at the World Cup, winning for the third time in a row, while his Canadian rival finished second in all three world championships and none of his nine World Cup coins were.
The Hungarian men’s relay closed in fourth, the women’s relay finished sixth, and the Hungarian squad produced the best World Championship performance ever.
Men’s 1000m World Champion:
Liu Shaoang 1:25,462 minutes
2. Lee Jun Seo (Republic of Korea) 1: 25.529
3 – Kfak Joon Ji (Republic of Korea) 1: 25.662
… 9. Pines Nograd
… 10. Peter Jászapáti
Women’s 1000m World Championships:
Choi Min-jung (Republic of Korea) 1: 27,956 minutes
2- Kim Putin (Canada) 1: 28.076
3. Xandra Velzeboer (Netherlands) 1:29.144
… 16. Zofia Konya
… 19. Petra Jászapáti
(Cover image: Liu Shuang at the World Cup. Photo: Andre Winning (BSR/Getty Images)
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