Gangneung Ice Arena declared up to speed
The President of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics Organising Committee, Lee Hee-beom hailed the Gangneung Ice Arena test event a total success following the completion of the International Skating Union (ISU) Short Track World Cup event on 16-18 December.
Over the course of the three days, over 29,000 spectators came to see the action at the arena which will host the short track and figure skating competitions at PyeongChang 2018.
On the ice, there was joy for Great Britain’s Elise Christie who completed her second double golden weekend in a row as she topped the podium again in both of the women’s 1,000 metres competitions.
Christie’s second win of the weekend saw her move into second place in the overall women’s 1,000m rankings on 21,678 points, with the gap between her and leader Choi Min-jeong standing at 6,322.
Choi gave her home crowd something to celebrate as she won the women’s 500m ahead of China’s Kexin Fan and Poland’s Natalia Maliszewska. Fan’s second place finish saw her close in on the World Cup top spot, which is still held by Christie, who chose not to take part in this weekend’s 500m race.
Choi was also part of the victorious Korean women’s 3,000m relay team, who maintained their perfect record in this season, beating the Netherlands and Canada into second and third respectively.
The men’s 5,000m relay was won by Hungary, with Canada and the USA completing the podium. In the overall World Cup standings, Hungary are now top of the table on 27,741, with China moving into second ahead of The Netherlands.
Canadian Charles Hamelin claimed the men’s 1,000m gold, with Semem Elistratov of Russia getting silver. Bronze went to Hamelin’s compatriot Charles Cournoyer.
China’s Wu Dajing put behind him the disappointment of being penalised in the men’s 1,000m heats on Friday by winning the 500m gold to increase his overall World Cup lead. Russia’s Denis Nikisha took silver while the Republic of Korea’s Han Seung-soo, got the bronze.
“There are 418 days left until the Pyeongchang Games, but as far as we’re concerned, the Olympics has already begun with this test event," said Lee Hee-beom. “We’ve identified some areas that need improvements, but the ISU has told us our overall preparation has been perfect.”“We’ll listen carefully to all suggestions and make sure the actual Olympics will be absolutely flawless," Lee added. “Next week, the Organising Committee, international officials and volunteers will meet to go over what we did well and what we could have done better at this event.”
During the test event, IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg met with the Acting President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Hwang Kyo-ahn.