Wang Meng wins second World Cup short-track gold in Canada

China dominated the 500- meter events at the second ISU World Cup short-track meet of the season Saturday as Wang Meng captured her second gold medal in as many weeks in the women’s final, while Liang Wenhao took the men’ s title.

Wang, the four-time Olympic gold medalist who returned from a 13-month suspension earlier this month, took the 500 meters women’ s final A race in 44.568 seconds, just ahead of Canada’s Jessica Gregg (44.631).

China’s Liu Qiuhong was third at the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal when she picked up the bronze in 44.644, as Canada’s Marianne St. Gelais (44.710) was fourth.

Liang, a 20-year-old who was the men’s gold medalist in the 500 meters at last year’s Asian Games, finished second overall in the semifinals to Canadian Charles Hamelin (41.747) with a time of 41.809. He then turned it up a notch in the final, moving into the lead in the last lap and crossing the finish line in 41.795, relegating Hamelin (41.484) to second and fellow Quebec native Olivier Jean (41.916) to third. China’s Yu Jiyang (42.7590) was seventh.

The 27-year-old Wang has been in championship form since coming back from a lengthy ban after she punched her former team manager Wang Chunlu following a boozy night when she broke the team curfew in the summer of 2011.

Last week in Calgary, her first international start following her suspension, the Heilongjiang native won the 500 meters final A race in 43.240, well off her world record mark of 42.609. On Saturday in Quebec, Wang posted the fastest time in both the heats (44.885) and the quarterfinals (43.885).

She then cruised through the semi-finals, finishing second (44. 182) to the 22-year-old Gregg (44.041) and advancing to the final A race where she led from the start.

China’s Fan Kexin was third in the women’s 500 meter final B race with a time of 45.008, behind Canada’s Caroline Truchon (44. 808) and Japanese Yui Sakai (44.927).

Despite the slower ice than last week, the women’s 1,500 meters final A yielded an identical result to Calgary. China’s Li Jianrou picked up her second bronze of the year as South Korean skaters Shim Suk-hee and Cho Ha-ri continued to show their dominance in the longer distance, finishing first and second respectively.

Liu, Li and Fan, along with teammate Kong Xue, will also be in Sunday’s women’s 3,000 meter relay final as the Chinese skaters finished second in the semifinals (4:17.323) behind South Korea. Canada was third in 4:18.516.

The Chinese men’s 5,000 relay team of Chen Dequan, Han Tianyu, Yu Jiyang and Yu Yongjun also qualified for the final, as the third fast qualifier (6:56.600), behind South Korea and Britain.

Xinhua