China Tops Short-Track Women's 3000m Relay Qualifying at 2018 Winter Olympics

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2018

China's Fan Kexin takes part in the women's 500m short track speed skating heat event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS        (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

China set the fastest time in the women's 3000-metre short-track speedskating relay at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Saturday by establishing a new Olympic record. 

Korea, Canada and Italy also booked their places in Final A.

Here are the full times from each relay heat, per the Games' official website:

Heat 1

1. Republic of Korea 4:06.387

2. Canada 4:07.627

3. Hungary: 4.09.555

4. OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia) 4:21.973


Heat 2

1. China 4:05.315

2. Italy 4:05.918

3. Netherlands 4:05.977

4. Japan 4:12.664


Here is the medal tracker:

Choi Minjeong and Shim Sukhee led a strong Korean team, one forced to overcome an early tumble, seconds after the first change in the opening heat at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

The fall wasn't enough to slow the hosts, though, who recovered to produce a remarkable skate and finish ahead of Canada. In the process, Choi and Shim led the way to what was temporarily a new record.

CBC reporter Devin Heroux was left impressed by how the host nation had not lost focus even after its early misfortune:

Devin Heroux @Devin_Heroux

What made that race even more dramatic is that one of the Korean skaters fell but tag her other skater sliding on the ice. What a remarkable maneuver.

Heroux also saw Marianne St-Gelais lead Canada into Final A after a solid and determined skate. The Canadians handled the changes efficiently but couldn't overcome the pace of the Koreans, who were buoyed by raucous support.

China and Italy also booked their places in Final A after a frenetic race in the second heat. Once the results were made official China had the Olympic record all to themselves.

Italy had kept pace, condemning Japan and the Netherlands to a place in the B final. The same fate also awaits Hungary and OAR's athletes.

St-Gelais led a valiant effort for Canada.
St-Gelais led a valiant effort for Canada.MLADEN ANTONOV/Getty Images

However, Korea, China and Canada showed their class with some highly impressive skating to win tough races against strong competition.

Final B and Final A will get under way on Tuesday, February 20.