BEIJING, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese men's and women's relay teams both advanced into the semifinals as group leaders at the 2021-22 season ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating series at Beijing's Capital Gymnasium here on Friday.
In the women's 1,000m, Zhang Yuting and Han Yutong both made it to the quarterfinals, coming in second in their respective groups.
"The athletes are pretty much on the same level after the preliminary round, so our preparations had to be targeted," said Han. "The opponents are really close, so it's important to hold your position."
Another Chinese skater, Guo Yihan, squeezed into the entry list for the quarterfinals as one of the fastest third in the group. Guo admitted afterward that it was the plan.
"I was in group six. So I already knew that the fastest third would make it to the next round," said the 2017 ISU World Championship relay champion. "I decided to skate in a conservative way, no fouls, no mistakes."
In the men's 1,000m, Olympic champion Wu Dajing was penalized for causing contact with the opponent as he tried to overtake from the inside. Ren Ziwei and An Kai advanced to the quarterfinals to be held on Sunday.
Medal favorites Liu Shaolin Sandor and Liu Shaoang of Hungary, Hwang Dae-heon and Kwak Yoon-gy of South Korea all qualified for the quarterfinals.
Despite being penalized in the preliminaries, Sidney K Chu of Hong Kong, China, is still confident in securing an Olympic berth, saying, "my ability to qualify for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games was proved during the race."
"What I need to work on is rather the tactics, since the short track is really a matter of tactics," Chu said. "I hope to bring better performance in the remaining World Cup events."
Chu also praised the Olympic venue. "It's really nice. The pandemic preventing and control measures are all good," he added. "There's enough warm-up space for the athletes. I'm really jealous that the Chinese mainland has a stadium so awesome like this."
In the women's 3,000m relay, Fan Kexin, Han Yutong, Xu Chunyu and Zhang Yutong represented Team China, holding the leading position most of the time to finish first in the group with four minutes and 05.234 seconds. World record holder the Netherlands also qualified for the semifinals.
In the men's 5,000m relay, Team China consists of Li Wenlong, Ren Ziwei, Sun Long and Wu Dajing was in group three. China took the lead as soon as the race started but fell behind Canada on lap 32. Only two laps later, Yang managed to overtake from the inside to regain the lead and clocked 6:48.964 to finish first.
Saturday will see medals in the men's and women's 500m and 1,500m, while the men's and women's 1,000m and relay will be decided on Sunday.