A Chinese short-track speed skater taken out by Australia’s Brendan Corey in the quarter-finals has gone on to win home gold after a dramatic photo finish in a controversial 1000m final.
After the final was restarted mid-race to remove metal debris, the program had one more twist after Hungary’s Liu Shaolin Sandor crossed first while colliding with Ren Ziwei.
Watch the dramatic incident unfold in the video above
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Officials assessed video replays for several minutes before disqualifying Liu, who has a Chinese father, for multiple infringements.
The killer blow was Liu’s “lane change causing contact” in his late bid for victory.
His yellow card delivered gold to overjoyed Chinese star Ren Ziwei, while silver went to China’s Li Wenlong and bronze – remarkably – to Liu’s younger brother Liu Shaoang.
Liu Shaolin Sandor was silent after his disqualification, according to his brother.
“I told him that I was proud of him and that these things happen in short track, to take a rest and come back stronger because tomorrow is another day,” Liu Shaoang said.
“He said nothing.”
Liu Shaolin Sandor battles with Ren Ziwei at the end of the 1000m final. Credit: Getty
The bronze medallist added: “We are not referees, there is nothing we can do. It was a pretty exciting race from the start to the end.”
Eventual winner Ren Ziwei, who escaped punishment for pushing Liu Shaolin Sandor with two hands at the finish, said it was no surprise that the race went down to the wire.
“We are short track skaters. It happens. We all fight for gold, never for less than that,” the new champion said.
His countryman Li Wenlong said of the controversy: “The race today was tough. It was full of twists and turns. I don’t think there is any question or doubt. Everyone earned it.”
The dramatic finish handing gold and silver to China came after home heroes Li Wenlong and Wu Dajing reached the final when two South Koreans were disqualified from their respective semi-finals.
“Unbelievable. All three Chinese (in the final) – really having the gift of short track,” Australian icon Steven Bradbury said after the semis.
After the gold medal was won, Bradbury said: “Nothing could be more favourable for the Chinese team with the judges than what’s happened tonight here in Beijing.”
The short-track speed skating judges previously faced accusations of bias after China won mixed relay gold over the weekend.
China’s Ren Ziwei celebrates after he was awarded the gold medal. Credit: Getty
China’s team had finished third in its semi-final but earned a spot in the final when Team USA was penalised.
“Looking at the way China won the gold medal, I felt bad that my younger teammates had to watch something like that,” South Korean veteran Kwak Yoon-gy said afterwards.
“I thought to myself ‘is this really what winning a gold medal is all about?’ Things all just felt very hollow.”
The 32-year-old had been attacked by Chinese fans on social media for predicting that China would receive favourable calls as the home country.
“If it had been any other country than China in that situation, I wondered if that team would still have been allowed to reach the final like that,” he said after the mixed relay controversy.
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Source by 7news.com.au