BUDAPEST, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- China grabbed a gold medal and a bronze in the final day competitions at the 2021-2022 season ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series in Debrecen, Hungary, while Dutch, Canadian and Hungarian athletes also grabbed medals on Sunday.
China's mixed relay team, composing of Fan Kexin, Ren Ziwei, Sun Long and Zhang Yuting, triumphed in the 2,000m relay final, with a time of two minutes and 39.386 seconds, beating Canada (Florence Brunelle, Caille de Serres-Rainville, Charles Hamelin and Steven Dubois) and France (Gwendoline Daudet, Quentin Fercoq, Sebastien Lepape and Tiffany Huot) to the second and third places, with respective results of 2:39.651 and 2:40.417.
The Hungarian team came in fourth, after the fall of Liu Shaolin Sandor, whose skate got caught in a bracelet falling off a South Korean athlete.
"You can see that we had very good teamwork and we had an excellent race in the mixed relay," said Fan Kexin after the race.
"As for women's 3,000m relay, we're still trying different strategies, hoping to gain more experience," she added.
She also underlined that the competitors were strong, so they needed to be stronger.
"For the Chinese fans, please have faith in us. We'll be the winners in the end," she said.
She explained that for 500m, she was feeling better and better one tournament after another: "Hopefully, I could move a bit further in the next tournament, to the final perhaps and win some good positions."
Fan's final target is of course the Beijing Winter Olympics. "The goal is very clear, to be the champion, to get the gold medal. That's what I want in every race I'm in. My teammates and I very much desire to stand on the top podium in Beijing," she concluded.
In the women's 3,000m relay, the Dutch team (Selma Poutsma, Suzanne Schulting, Sandra Velzeboer and Yara van Kerkhof) was the best with a time of 4:06.698, Canadian skaters (Alyson Charles, Florence Brunelle, Courtney Sarault and Kim Boutin) earned - yet again - the silver medal and team China (Fan Kexin, Guo Yihan, Qu Chunyu and Zhang Yuting) skated to the third place. The time difference between team Canada and China was minuscule: 4:06.769 versus 4:06.782. South Korean skaters were fourth.
Suzanne Shulting from the Netherlands won her second gold as she was the fastest skater in the women's 1,000m race (1:31.475), beating Choi Minjeong (1:31.789) from South Korea and Natalia Maliszewska (1:31.950) from Poland.
South Korean skater Hwang Daeheon won the gold in the men's 1,000m race (1:25.425), beating World Cup leader Pascal Dion (1:25.698) from Canada and Itzhak de Last (1:26.211) from the Netherlands.
In the longest race, the men's 5,000m relay, Canadian skaters (Charles Hamelin, Pascal Dion, Jordan Pierre-Gilles and Steven Dubois) won the gold in 6:44.045, beating South Korean athletes (Hwang Daeheon, Kim Dongwook, Kwak Yoon-Gy and Park In Wook) by 0.847 seconds.
World Cup leader Hungary's performance was enough for the bronze medal, as Daniel Tiborcz, John-Henry Krueger, Bence Nogradi and Liu Shaoang missed the silver by a hair after clocking 6:45.003.
The Debrecen tournament also served as a qualifying tournament for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
According to the latest rules, it is not enough to close in the top 12 in order to win the right to start in the Olympic Games, but it is also necessary for a team to obtain at least two individual quotas for both men's and women's events.
The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series will now travel to Dordrecht, the Netherlands from November 25 to 28, to resume in its last and decisive event.