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Ahn collects second medal on short track

AP, Kyodo

Speedskater Viktor Ahn of Russia won the gold medal in men’s 1,000 short track, with teammate Vladimir Grigorev taking the silver.

The mostly Russian crowd at Iceberg Skating Palace erupted as Ahn and Grigorev crossed the finish line Saturday.

Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands claimed the bronze.

Ahn was clocked in 1 minutes, 23.325 seconds, while Grigorev finished in 1:25.399. Knegt’s time was 1:25.611.

It was Ahn’s second medal of the Sochi Olympics, having given his adopted country its first short track medal with a bronze in the 1,500. Ahn was born in South Korea and competed in the Olympics for his native country before becoming a Russian citizen in 2011.

The judges disqualified Sin Da-woon of South Korea.

Also Saturday, Ayuko Ito bowed out in the semifinals after taking a spill in the women’s 1,500-meter short track speed skating competition.

Ito, whose best finish at a Winter Games was seventh place in the women’s 3,000 relay in Vancouver, moved to the front of the seven-woman field after the start but gradually slipped back. She fell when her blade hit another skater’s as she attempted to move into position and finished last.

“I started the race aggressively, but I had to be able to break away,” Ito said. “If you can’t win a medal, then getting through qualifying is meaningless.”

Ito, who came fourth in this event at last year’s world championships, had a bit of luck to reach the semis.

She was overtaken while trailing in third on the final lap of the heats, but the skater who initially was thought to have crossed before her had not reached the goal, moving Ito into the semis. Compatriots Biba Sakurai and Yui Sakai exited in the heats.

Vancouver Games champion Zhou Yang of China won the gold medal, followed by world silver medalist Shim Suk Hee of South Korea. The bronze medal went to Italy’s Arianna Fontana, who also has a silver medal at Sochi from the 500 meters.

China’s Zhou Yang defended her Olympic Games short track title on Saturday when she triumphed in the 1,500m.

The 22-year-old Zhou clocked 2:19.140 to edge the 17-year-old Shim.