FIRST MEDALS PLAYED OFF
Today is the starting competitive day of the Games, and the atmosphere at the winter venues of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is already very hot. Skiers, hockey players and representatives of short track were the first to put up a fight.
Skiers started with sprint classic style. And right after the quarterfinal men’s race only a couple of Kazakh athletes, one representative of South Korea and a two dozens of Russians remained in the ranks. In the final, Didar Kasenov from Kazakhstan alone confronted the hosts of the Games.
The fight was hard, but the Moscow skier Ilya Tregubov was the first overcome the distance of 1 kilometer and 300 meters, and Dmitry Yamaletdinov, the representative of the Ural Federal District, was the second. Among the girls, the gold medal in sprint, to the delight of locals, was won by the representative of the Sakhalin region, Anna Kozhinova.
Korean athletes are the main favorites of the competition in short track. And representatives of the “Land of the Morning Calm” arrived in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in the same status. They proved their strength in qualifications for a half-kilometer distance. Their rivals tried doing their best but it was unsuccessful. Koreans won all the preliminary races.
The semifinals were same. The majority in the finals of the masters of the short track were from Korea. And they once again demonstrated the high level of short track in their country. Successfully combining command and individual tactics, athletes left rivals from other countries behind in the first circles and then played places on the podium among themselves. As a result, JANG Yeonjae was the fastest and most technical among the girls, KIM Leehyeon crossed finish line second, PARK Hayoon got the third place.
In the men’s competition, HONG Joon Hwa became the strongest in the 1500 meters race, followed by his teammate LEE Eunjae, and the PARK Geonnyeong won the bronze medal. The Koreans got the whole pedestal that day, but they expect to pick up all the medals on the short track at the tournament.
The first ice hockey battle at the competition ended with an incredible result, even for this sport. The phrase «Kuwait national ice hockey team» sounds a bit strange. Nevertheless, this country sent their representatives to Sakhalin. We should say “thank you” for such a bold step. But the southerners did not have chances against athletes from the Far Eastern Regional District from the beginning.
And the Russians literally crushed rivals. 60 unanswered rubbers flew into the gate of the Kuwait goalkeeper. That is, the Far Easterners threw, on average, one goal per minute. Statistic is absolutely frustrating. It remains to wish ice hockey players from Kuwait success in the next match.
However, there was much more action in the second battle of the day. By the end of the first period, the Sakhalin united team unpacked the Japanese gates. Immediately, the ice masters doubled their advantage after the first break, and local fans began to rub their hands — the first battle was almost won.
But the Japanese did not put down the hockey sticks and proved that their nation is not for nothing to be called one of the most spiritual in the world. At first, the score became equal, and when the end of the third period was about three minutes, an incredible thing happened — the third goal flew into the gates of Sakhalin residents. They did not have enough forces on the controversy. 3:2 — the first victory of the «samurai» in the competition.