Scots speed skater Elise Christie on top of world

Elise Christie, centre, crosses the line first with Marianne St-Gelais, right, in second. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty

Elise Christie, centre, crosses the line first with Marianne St-Gelais, right, in second. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty

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Livingston-born speed skater Elise Christie yesterday became the first British woman to win a World Short Track Speed Skating Championships title with victory in the 1500m in Rotterdam.

Christie had to move a lapped opponent out of the way on the final corner and pushed her skate first across the line ahead of Marianne St-Gelais of Canada and Shim Suk-hee of the much-fancied South Koreans. Defending champion Choi Min-jeong, also of South Korea, finished a distant fifth

“I never expected to win the 1500,” said Christie, capping an injury-hit season with gold. After seven medals at world championships, the 26-year-old claimed her first top finish. Victory was all the more remarkable since she suffered a concussion earlier in the season. Christie clocked a winning time of two minutes 54.369 seconds, 0.12 seconds ahead of St-Gelais in second.

The world title caps an impressive rise back to the top by Christie, who said she was considering her future in the sport after being disqualified from all three of her events at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

She has been focusing on the shorter distance events this season and has already set a new 500m world record of 42.335 seconds.

The Scot also reached the 500m final, but finished last of the four competitors, recording a time of 43.835 seconds, with China’s Kexin Fan winning in 43.605.

She has the chance of another gold in the 1000m today.

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