Chinese young skaters display prowess in relays at 2019 Shanghai Trophy
In the absence of world champions Wu Dajing and Fan Kexin, the young Chinese short track speed skaters including several international debutants won three relay medals of different colors at the 2019 Shanghai Trophy in Shanghai on Saturday.
Competing against world-class contenders such as the Netherlands and Hungary, the Chinese skaters topped the podium in the mixed 3,000m relay, took the silver in the women's 5,000m relay and placed third in the men's 5,000m relay.
In the mixed relay, the Chinese quartet featured three teenage skaters, including international debutants of 14-year-old girl Wang Ye and 15-year-old girl Zhang Tianyi. The third teenager was 16-year-old Zhang Chutong, who won the bronze in the 1,000 meters on Thursday.
The Chinese foursome took the gold in 2:37.936, leading by 23-year-old "veteran" Han Tianyu who surpassed Melle Van't Wout of the Netherlands to lead the race for good with three laps to go.
"Although our team is very young as I am the only experienced skater, I think we are very competitive," Han said, adding they had targeted to win the event prior to the final.
Powerhouse Hungary, led by the Liu Shaolin and Liu Shaoang brothers, ranked second in 2:37.957, while the Netherlands took the bronze in 2:38.143.
The women's relay witnessed a nail-biting race between China and the Netherlands, the runner-up of the 2019 World Championships, who fielded in its Olympic champion Suzanne Schulting.
The Chinese girls, all under the age of 18, clocked in 4:09.762 to rank second, only 0.001 second behind the Netherlands in 4:09.761.
"I am very excited. As a young skater, I came here in order to improve myself through international competitions. We competed with no fear," noted Zhang Chutong. "I am still far from the world's top level. I will go back to practice more."
In the men's relay, the Chinese team squandered its early lead after Han Tianyu thumbed on the rink with six laps to go.
Hungary, who sent in three members of its winning relay team at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, won the final in 6:58.408, beating the Netherlands to second in 6:59.813. Host China won the bronze in 7:05.457 as Kazakhstan was disqualified.