Martina Valcepina won her women's 500 metres heat in Turin ©Getty Images

Martina Valcepina won her women's 500 metres heat on home ice as the International Skating Union Short Track World Cup began in Turin.

The double relay Olympic medallist is the big hope for hosts Italy at the season-ending competition at the Tazzoli Ice Rink.

She dominated the 500m at the last World Cup stop in Dresden in Germany and bagged her heat victory today in 43.800sec.

Also winning women's heats over the shortest distance were Dutch 1,000m Olympic champion Suzanne Schulting, Britain's former overall world champion Elise Christie, three-time Olympic medallist Kim Boutin of Canada and current 500m World Cup leader Natalia Maliszewska of Poland.

In 1,000m action, South Korea's 1,500m Olympic champion Choi Min-jeong was among the victors in 1:31.997.

Russia's Sofia Prosvirnova also continued her fine form over the distance as a heat winner.

The 1,500m competition started at the quarter-final stage with Schulting winning again and Choi going through in second place behind Germany's Anna Seidel.

Samuel Girard also performed well in the 500 metres today ©Getty Images
Samuel Girard also performed well in the 500 metres today ©Getty Images

Christie and Prosvirnova also continued their progression over this distance, alongside double Olympic relay gold medallist Shim Suk-hee of South Korea.

In men's action, Canada's 1,000m Olympic champion Samuel Girard won both of his heats over 500m, with Hungary's Olympic relay champion Shaolin Sandor Liu another winner.

Liu also won over 1,000m, alongside South Korea's World Cup leader over the distance, Ji Won Park.

At 1,500m, another South Korean World Cup leader won as Gun Woo Kim came home first.

Canada's triple Olympic champion Charles Hamelin was another to taste success.

Action in the 2006 Winter Olympic host city will continue tomorrow.

The first medals will be decided over 500m and 1,500m.