South Korea sweeps 500m speed skating titles
Canadian team pursuit squads finish 7th, 8th
Olympic champions Mo Tae-bum and Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea retained their 500-metre titles at the speedskating world championships Sunday in Sochi, Russia.
Tae-bum took the men's crown at the season-ending event, clocking a combined 69.76 seconds over the two single distance races to edge Japan's Joji Kato by six hundredths of a second.
World Cup 500m discipline champion Jan Smeekens of the Netherlands, who clocked the fastest time of 34.80 seconds in the first heat, had a slow start in the second heat and finished fifth for a combined third place at Adler Arena, a Sochi Olympics venue.
Laurent Dubreuil of Levis, Que., was ninth, while Edmonton Jamie Gregg was 10th.
In the women's event, Sang-hwa dominated both of her heats to win in a combined time of 75.34 seconds. Chinese sprinter Wang Beixing was 0.69 seconds behind in second. Russia's Olga Fatkulina edged out four-time champion Jenny Wolf of Germany by 0.05 seconds to finish in 76.08 for third and her second medal in two days. The 23-year-old Russian won the 1,000 for her maiden major title on Saturday.
Calgary's Kaylin Irvine was the top Canadian in 18th.
Dutch skaters retain their titles in team pursuit races.
The men's team of Sven Kramer, Koen Verweij and Jan Blokhuijsen clocked three minutes 42.03 seconds to finish the 6,000-metre event ahead of South Korea and Poland.
In the women's 4,400-metre race, Marrit Leenstra, Diane Valkenburg and Ireen Wust timed 3:00.02 to claim the title ahead of Poland and South Korea.
Canada was seventh in the men's team pursuit and eighth in the women's event.