Maltais sets new Olympic benchmark in women’s 1,000m short track, as An lays down marker in men’s 500m
Valérie Maltais of Canada set a new Olympic record time of 1 minute 28.771 seconds to win heat three of the women’s 1,000m short track qualifiers and progress to the quarter-finals on 21 February.
Japan’s Yui Sakai (1:29.824), also in heat three, was the only other qualifier to post a sub 1:30 time in the eight heats.
The third fastest qualifying time at the Iceberg Skating Palace was recorded by Great Britain’s Elise Christie (1:30.588), who will be looking to atone for her two previous disqualifications in the finals of the 1,500m and 500m.
They will be joined by 13 other qualifiers from the eight heats, including Chinese pair Jianrou Li and Kexin Fan, who will be among the favourites for the podium.
The men then took centre stage at the Iceberg for the 500m heats. 32 short track specialists competed in eight heats, with 16 earning the right to progress to the quarter finals, which will take place on 21 February.
The fastest qualifier was Russia’s Victor An, newly crowned Olympic champion over 1,000m. Racing in heat 5, An clocked 41.450 seconds. Second fastest time of the morning came from China’s Tianyu Han, who posted 41.592 seconds in heat 4.