Hanne Desmet leads Belgian skaters to short track success with 1,000m victory
Belgium's skaters put in a solid performance at the Short Track World Cup in Seoul on Saturday, headlined by Hanne Desmet's triumph in the 1,000m. Desmet claimed her third victory of the season, beating American Kristen Santos-Griswold by just one hundredth of a second.
Reflecting on her victory, Desmet said, "This race could have gone either way," emphasising the minimal difference in strength between herself, Santos-Griswold and Dutch runner Xandra Velzeboer.
Desmet's timing and well-executed acceleration secured her victory in a fiercely contested race. "I am tenacious and determined in these situations. You give everything and see what happens. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't," she said. Desmet's victory in the 1,000m was particularly significant as it marked her dominance over the distance where she won Olympic bronze in Beijing almost two years ago.
"I am tenacious and determined in these situations. (...) Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't"
Meanwhile, the men's short track team secured a place in the A final for the first time. Despite an unfortunate turn of events in which Enzo Proost was knocked down by Hungary's Bence Nogradi, resulting in Hungary's disqualification, Belgium secured a commendable third place behind China and Italy. In Sunday's final, the team will face tough competition from China, Italy, the Netherlands and South Korea.
In the mixed relay, Belgium continued their successful run by winning the B final, ahead of Poland, Japan and Germany. This earned them fifth place in the overall standings for the weekend.
Belgium's Hanne Desmet (L) and Kristen Santos-Griswold in the women's 1,000m finals © PHOTO JUNG-YEON-JE/ AFP