Canada’s short track speed skater of the moment, Kim Boutin, sailed through her opening 1,500 metres heat at the International Skating Union World Cup in Nagoya, Japan.
Boutin has earned four World Cup victories so far this season and set a world record of 41.936sec in the 500m.
She again impressed, finishing in 2min 30.723sec to beat Italy’s Martina Valcepina, who clocked 2min 31:214sec.
The first of the two Asian legs of the World Cup - action moves to Shanghai next weekend - should clarify the main contenders for glory this season.
In the women’s 1,000m heats, South Korea’s three-time world champion Choi Min-jeong, who has made a quiet start to the season, looked composed in winning her opener in 1:34.195.
Also winning her heat was world number one Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands, who finished in 1:32.147.
In the men’s racing, Hwang Dae-heon of South Korea has started the season powerfully, but the current world number one is missing from the line-up in Japan.
That offers an opening for the Hungarian Liu brothers, Shaoang and Shaolin Sandor, and Semen Elistratov of Russia, who won the 1,500m in Salt Lake and the 1,000m in Montreal.
Shaoang was a winner of his 1000m heat in 1:28.810 and Elistratov was also a clear victor in 1:26.838.