March 27 - China's men and the Italian women showed their strength in short track speed skating here today as both nations secured a gold and a silver in the 500 metres at the 2013 International Military Sports Council (CISM) World Winter Games, leaving the bronze medals to France and Austria respectively.
An early collision between China's Qipeng Ning and home hope Maxime Châtaignier left the leaders trailing behind, clearing the path for China's Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympian and Asian Games champion Song Weilong to take the gold in 42.651 seconds.
His compatriot Xin Nie secured the silver in 42.449, while Châtaignier managed to put his all in to claim the bronze in 42.661 despite the crash.
"The third Chinese skater tried to make a strategy to help the other racers from china but he fell down just in front of me so it's bad luck for me but I got a medal today so I am still satisfied," the 24-year-old double Olympian told insidethegames.
"The 1,500 tomorrow is my favourite distance in the World Cup and I want to get another medal for the French army.
"I'm still focussed.
"I am so proud to be winning at home and I want to thank the French army for supporting me during my training.
"This is just the only weapon I have to say thanks to the army."
Meanwhile, Italy's double Winter Olympic bronze medallist Arianna Fontana won gold in 44.066 ahead of her teammate Martina Valcepina, who finished second in 44.148.
"We came here to win so we started good, tomorrow there is another race and we try to win again," Fontana explained to insidethegames.
"It's really important for the army these medals so were happy to be here and win and do great."
The 22-year-old multiple World Championships medallist said today's result was a good sign of things to come, particularly in the lead up to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and said her nation is now a massive challenger for the Chinese.
"At the Olympic test event in February I won two silver medals and with the relay we arrived third so we did good," she explained.
"I will try to be ready to fight for the medal in all the distances and the relay too [at Sochi 2014].
"We try every time to beat the Chinese because they are really strong.
"And in this last year we have been doing great so they're kind of scared of us now.
"We are going really fast now and at the Olympics Games we can do something great."
Veronika Windisch of Austria took bronze in a time of 44.381 and was particularly pleased with her result.
"I'm pretty happy actually as 500m is not my best distance, I feel more comfortable on the longer distances so I surprised myself," she told insidethegames.
"And it was a hard fight with the Chinese so I deserve this spot.
"If I have a similar result to today then I will do great tomorrow."
The final event in short track speed skating takes place tomorrow as all of today's challengers line up to compete for the 1,500m medals.
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March 2013: Home nation dominate on first day of competition at Annecy 2013 CISM Winter World Games