Skater Hanne Desmet misses out on silver after disqualification

Belgian speed skater Hanne Desmet missed out on a silver medal in the 1,500m at the World Short Track Championships in Rotterdam on Saturday. The 27-year-old from Mechelen crossed the finish line in second place, but was subsequently penalised and disqualified.

Desmet failed to make way for American Kristen Santos-Griswold with a few laps to go. She crossed the line in second, but in vain.

South Korean Gilli Kim won the race ahead of Santos-Griswold and the second American, Corinne Stoddard. "Too bad the rules are applied so strictly," said Joey Mantia, assistant coach of the Belgians and Desmet's partner.

Earlier in the competition, Desmet had beaten South Korea's Shim Suk Hee to second place in her semi-final. Dutch rider Suzanne Schulting also had to compete in the B final after being forced into the safety cushions.

Desmet had already shown that she was in top form on the first day of the World Cup, taking three consecutive victories with seemingly no effort at all. Kim and Santos, however, were a match.

Risk taker

"I still have full confidence in my ability as a skater," Desmet said. "I knew this could happen to me. I have a lot of speed and maybe I should have waited a bit at the 1,500m when I was off balance. But my style of skating is that I don't shy away from risks. That also showed in the 500m. I will now rest and prepare for tomorrow."

"I knew this could happen to me. (...) But my style of skating is that I don't shy away from risks."

For the hundred or so Belgian fans who had travelled to Rotterdam, Hanne Desmet was the only compatriot to be cheered. Her younger brother Stijn had failed to qualify for the main event in the early hours of the morning.



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