Vancouver (AFP) - China smashed South Korea's winning streak in the Olympic women's short-track 3,000-metre relaywith a world record time at the Vancouver Games on Wednesday.
South Korea finished first in the final but were then disqualified after referees ruled that Kim Min-Jung impeded Sun Linlin's path after a handover with six laps to go.
Canada took the silver and the bronze went to the United States.
Led by newly-crowned Olympic champions Wang Meng (500m) and Zhou Yang (1,500m), China clocked 4min 06.61sec, breaking their own world record of 4:07.179 set in Salt Lake City in October 2008.
Sun explained: "She (Kim) was trying to overtake me and she couldn't get through so I guess that's how the collision happened.
"I think the referee's decision is fair."
South Korea, the most medaled nation in the Olympic short-track competition since the sport's debut in 1992, had reigned supreme in the event since a young squad dethroned Canada in 1994.
But China fired a warning by beating South Korea into second spot when they won their eighth world 3,000m relay title last year. They have since won three of the season's four World Cup relays and South Korea one.
After China took an early lead on Wednesday, they battled with South Korea until the controversial handover.
The Koreans kept the Chinese at a safe distance toward the finish and celebrated on the oval until the referee disqualified them.
"I wasn't surprised because in short track anything can happen. Whatever the judges say I will accept," Wang said.
"I was in charge of the first half of the relay and Zhou was in charge of second half. Everyone stayed calm through the race and I'm so proud of them."
China's Zhang Hui came off the ice with a bloodied chin.
"It was an accident," explained Wang.
"We were celebrating after the referee's decision and she was accidentally cut in the fact by a blade."
It was the second silver for Canada's Marianne St-Gelais after finishing second behind Wang in the 500m.
"Our time was super and then to find ourselves with the silver medal is just a joy," she said.
"I came to the Olympics with the idea that this team medal was more important that an individual medal."
Canada's Tania Vicent added: "We knew the Chinese and Korean teams were fighting it out so our tactic was to stay right behind them and take advantage of their mistakes.
"We got a record time for Canada, we can't do better than that."
Korean coach fumes over snatched away gold
Choi Kwang-bok losing his shit
VANCOUVER (Reuters) - South Korea coach Choi Kwang-bok banged his fists in anger, glared at officials and argued with Australian referee James Hewish but nothing could change the fact his women's relay team had been disqualified in an Olympic short track 3,000 meters final.
Cho Ha-ri, Kim Min-jung, Lee Eun-byul and Park Seung-hi had already done several victory laps around the rink waving flags to the cheering throng of Korean fans when the dreaded letters "DQ" flashed up on the scoreboard, handing China victory.
Kim had apparently impeded Chinese skater Sun Lunlin.
While his skaters dissolved into tears, Choi was incandescent with rage at what he thought was an unfair decision.
"I argued with the referee at the end ... but he ignored me and then he left. Today there was no crash between the bodies or body contact so I have no clue why we were disqualified," he told reporters through a translator.
"It was out of my control when the judges made their decision. The main referee (Hewish) is from Australia and he misjudged it when Kim Dong-sung ... was skating (in 2002) and disqualified. It was the same referee."
Eight years ago Hewish was in charge when Kim Dong-sung was first across the finish line in the 1,500 meters final at Salt Lake City but then disqualified for blocking American Apolo Anton Ohno, an incident that sparked a diplomatic row.
When it was pointed out to Choi that Kim Min-jung's blades had made contact with China's Sun Linlin with a few laps to go, he said: "The blade contact is no reason for disqualification."
The disqualification was a bitter pill for Choi to swallow as his team were going for their fifth successive Olympic gold.
"I feel terrible about losing the streak. I feel so sorry for Korea. We tried our best to win this gold ... we were confident of gold.
"But in short track there are no regulations to appeal a disqualification so I have to accept it."
(Editing by Jon Bramley)
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