Chinese, South Koreans advance in women's 1,500

BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer Published:

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Zhou Yang of China qualified for the women's 1,500-meter short track speedskating final on Saturday, giving her a chance to defend the Olympic title she won four years ago.

Zhou won her semifinal. In the final later in the day, she'll be up against Shim Suk-hee of South Korea, who finished second to Zhou in their semi.

Also reaching the final were Li Jianrou of China, Kim Alang of South Korea, Arianna Fontana of Italy, Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands and Emily Scott of Springfield, Mo.

The American advanced to the final after South Korea's Cho Ha-ri was disqualified. The referees ruled Cho shoved Scott as she attempted an outside pass in the turn. Scott was the lone American to move on after Jessica Smith of Melvindale, Mich., finished fourth in her semifinal. Alyson Dudek of Hales Corner, Wis., was eliminated after finishing fourth in the heats.

Viktor Ahn put himself in position to give his adopted Russia its second short track medal after winning his semifinal in the 1,000. The South Korean-born skater who became a Russian citizen two years ago already has a bronze at Sochi after finishing third in the 1,500. His teammate, Vladimir Grigorev, won the other semi to advance in the 1,000.

Also making the final later Saturday were Sin Da-woon of South Korea and Wu Dajing of China. Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands progressed to the final after Lee Han-bin of South Korea was disqualified.

Lee was skating second with Knegt on his hip, when Lee nearly went down. The South Korean's momentum carried him and Knegt wide on the track and they fell well behind Grigorev and Sin. After a review, the judges disqualified Lee.

Americans J.R. Celski and Eddy Alvarez were eliminated in separate crashes.

Celski clipped a lane marker in a turn and went down while racing second in the last of four quarterfinals. Alvarez was taken out by 1,500 Olympic champion Charles Hamelin of Canada, who also crashed out. Alvarez got up and finished skating while holding his face, apparently injured in the crash.