Shaoang Liu registered the quickest times in the men’s 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m heats ©Getty Images

Two-time Olympic champion Shaoang Liu looked in fine form on the opening day of the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal.

The Hungarian was the top qualifier across the men’s 500 metres, 1,000m and 1,500m as action got underway at the Maurice Richard Arena.

Liu claimed men’s 500m gold at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and is the defending world champion in the event.

He produced the fastest time in his heat in Montreal as he crossed the finish line in 40.696sec ahead of Israel’s Vladislav Bykanov and Italy’s Thomas Nadalini who were among the 21 skaters to qualify for the quarter-finals.

The other heat winners were Stijn Desmet of Belgium, Canadian duo Pascal Dion and Steven Dubois, Itzhak de Laat of The Netherlands and South Korea’s Lee June-seo.

Liu also registered the quickest time in the men’s 1,000m heats with 1:26.178 as Desmet, Bykanov, South Korean pair Kwak Yoon-gy and Kim Dong-wook, France’s Sebastien Lepape and Dion also came out on top in their races to progress to the quarter-finals.

There was little change in the men’s 1,500m quarter-finals with Liu, Desmet, Dion, Lepape, Bykanov and Kim all topping their heats.

Liu posted the fastest time again, crossing in 2:15.036 ahead of Kwak and Australia’s Brendan Corey in a quick third heat, while Latvia's Reinis Bērziņš achieved his first win of the day in heat two.

South Korea's Shim Suk-hee denied Xandra Velzeboer of The Netherlands a clean sweep of race wins on the first day of women’s action in Montreal.

Shim Suk-hee is back in action after serving a two-month that resulted in her missing the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics ©Getty Images
Shim Suk-hee is back in action after serving a two-month that resulted in her missing the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics ©Getty Images

The two-time Olympic gold medallist is competing in the Canadian city after completing a two-month ban for making disparaging remarks about team-mates.

On her return to racing, Shim produced the quickest time in the women’s 1,500m quarter-finals, posting 2:21.850, edging out Velzeboer who crossed in 2:21.918 in the sixth and final heat.

South Korean rivals Seo Whi-min and Choi Min-jeong also won their heats along with Canadian duo Kim Boutin and Courtney Sarault and Belgium’s Hanne Desmet.

Velzeboer was the fastest qualifier from the women’s 500m heats after finishing in 42.494.

Her time bettered fellow heat winners Boutin and Choi who posted 42.771 and 42.737 respectively, while Canadian Alyson Charles, Maame Biney of the United States, Poland’s Natalia Maliszewska and Hungary’s Petra Jászapáti also emerged victorious from their heats.

Velzeboer notched a time of 1:29.595 to qualify quickest from the women’s 1,000m heats after edging out Shim on this occasion.

Sarault, Charles, Boutin, Seo, Choi and Germany’s Anna Seidel were the other heat winners.

Competition is due to continue tomorrow.