The Netherlands’ Suzanne Schulting secured double gold at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships today, winning both the women’s 500 and 1500 metres events in Dordrecht.
The 23-year-old is hoping to retain the overall title she claimed two years ago in Sofia, with the 2020 World Championships cancelled due to COVID-19.
Schulting’s overall success in 2019 was built on her triumph in the 1000m event, as well as a bronze in the 500m event.
The Dutch star secured her maiden 500m and 1500m world titles today.
Schulting began the day by winning her 1500m semi-final in a time of 2min 23.415sec, finishing ahead of team-mate Selma Poutsma.
The final saw Schulting emerge as the winner in a time of 2:36.884.
Canada’s Courtney Sarault and The Netherlands’ Xandra Velzeboer completed the podium in times of 2:37.089 and 2:37.109 respectively.
Schulting enjoyed a comfortable passage through her 500m semi-final by achieving a time of 42.525, with Italy’s Arianna Fontana taking the second spot in the final in 42.710.
The final proved a repeat with Schulting holding off the challenge of her rival to win gold in 42.661, leaving Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic bronze medallist Fontana settling for second in 42.719.
The podium was completed by Poutsma, with the Dutch skater clocking 42.850.
High emotions as Suzanne Schulting 🇳🇱 wins the 500m gold 🥇. The last skater to win this title was Lara van Ruijven, who tragically passed away in 2020.— ISU Speed Skating (@ISU_Speed) March 6, 2021
Schulting in tears as she pays fitting tribute to her much-loved teammate.#WorldShortTrack #ShortTrackSkating pic.twitter.com/bRTVRRsWpS
Following the race. Schulting paid tribute to the 2019 world champion Lara van Ruijven, with the Dutch skater having died last year at the age of 27 from an autoimmune disease.
Schulting will set her sights on earning a third individual title tomorrow when she attempts to defend her 1000m crown.
She holds a convincing lead in the overall standings having secured 68 points today, with Fontana second on 26.
Hungary’s Shaoang Liu triumphed in the men’s 500m competition, with the 22-year-old clocking 40.524 to win a maiden world title.
Russian Skating Union’s Semen Elistratov finished as the runner-up in 40.603, as Italy’s Pietro Sighel took bronze in 40.673.
The men’s 1500m title was claimed by Canada’s Charles Hamelin for the third time in his career, winning in 2:18.143.
The Netherlands’ Itzhak de Laat and Elistratov completed the podium in 2:18.202 and 2:18.296 respectively.
The World Championships will conclude tomorrow.