South Korea's Choi Min-jeong, a 15-time World Championships gold medallist, progressed in all three distances on the first day in Seoul ©Getty Images

Home favourite and Olympic champion Choi Min-jeong eased into the women's 1500 metres semi-finals on the first day of the International Skating Union World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in South Korea's capital Seoul.

Choi has won back-to-back 1500m titles at the Olympics, and has triumphed in this distance three times at the World Championships.

She eased into the semi-finals by winning her quarter-final heat in 2min 23.104sec at the Mokdong Ice Rink, beating closest challenger Michelle Velzeboer of The Netherlands by more than one second.

Choi also progressed in the 500m heats, finishing second in 43.980sec behind Hungary's Petra Jászapáti.

Defending champion Xandra Velzeboer of The Netherland was quickest into the quarter-finals in 42.537.

Last year's overall World Championships winner Choi also eased through in the 1,000m in 1:34.204, although Velzeboer laid down an impressive 1:31.994 in her heat.

Shaoang Liu of Hungary dominated last year's men's competition at the ISU World Short Track Championships, but is absent because he is undergoing the process of changing nationality to China.

Last year's 1500m runner-up Pascal Dion of Canada won a slow quarter-final heat in 2:33.645, and the quickest time was set by Dutch European champion Jens van 't Wout in 2;13.625.

Olympic silver medallist Steven Dubois of Canada eased through in 2:16.572.

Quentin Fercoq of France progressed through his men's 500m heat as one of the best third-placed athletes ©Getty Images
Quentin Fercoq of France progressed through his men's 500m heat as one of the best third-placed athletes ©Getty Images

Home favourite Lee June-seo took 1,000m silver last year, and started with a comfortable 1:28.126 to win his heat, although compatriots Park Ji-won and Hong Kyung-hwan were quicker in 1:26.763 and 1:27.086 respectively.

The 2022 500m silver medallist Quentin Fercoq of France progressed as one of the best third-placed athletes with a time of 41.362 in a heat won by Brandom Kim of the United States in 40.927.

Beijing 2022 bronze medallist Dubois also qualified through the competitive heat in 41.362, while his compatriot Maxime Laoun was quickest overall in 40.913.

The Netherlands were quickest in the mixed team relay quarter-finals in 2:42.283, and defending champions South Korea were quickest in the women's 3,000m relay in 4:11.779.

Olympic bronze medallists China were eliminated from the women's relay with a time of 4:17.980, although only Zhang Yuting was also part of their team at their home Winter Olympics last year.

The Netherlands were quickest in the men's 5,000m relay with a time of 6:53.460, with Olympic champions Canada and Hungary also progressing through a fast heat in which the US were knocked out.

The World Championships is set to continue tomorrow, with the first medal events scheduled in the 1500m and 500m distances.