Short track: Christie disqualified again

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 15, 2014 5:57 AM

By Julian Linden

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - British short track speed skater Elise Christie was eliminated from the first round of the women's 1,500 meters event on Saturday when she was penalized for an infringement in her heat.

Christie, who missed out on a silver medal in the 500m event on Thursday when she was blamed for causing a crash in the final, again incurred the wrath of officials when she was disqualified from the longer event.

"I literally have no idea what happened today," a bewildered Christie said. "I have no idea why I have been penalized. I am really confused."

Christie appeared to have safely booked her place in the semi-finals when she narrowly won her heat but her joy quickly turned to dismay when it was announced she had been penalized and relegated to last place.

There were no crashes in the race and the announcers at the Iceberg Skating Palace did not immediately explain why the Scot had been penalized, although under the rules of the sport, competitors can be disqualified for a range of infringements, including impeding other entrants and skating inside the markers.

"I didn't expect it," Christie said. "When my name didn't come up on the screen. I was just really confused."

Two days ago, the 23-year-old was relegated from second position to eighth after causing a pileup in the 500m final.

On the first bend of the hotly contested race, she collided with Arianna Fontana of Italy and South Korea's Park Seung-hi, sending all three women sprawling to the ice.

All three got back on their skates and finished the race, with Christie crossing the line second, only to be told she had been penalized for instigating the pileup.

China's Li Jianrou avoided the pileup to win the sprint race easily while Fontana was promoted to silver and Park to bronze.

(Additional reporting by Alissa De Carbonnel; editing by Peter Rutherford)