Celski secures spot in 1500m short track semis

Sochi, Russia ( - American J.R. Celski secured a spot in the semifinals of the men's 1500m short track speed skating competition after finishing second in a qualifying heat on Monday.

Celski, who won bronze in this event in Vancouver, turned in a time of 2 minutes, 15.675 seconds, finishing just behind Korea's Da Woon Sin and ahead of France's Sebastien Lepape at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

Canadian brothers Charles and Francois Hamelin, part of Canada's gold medal- winning men's relay team in Vancouver, also qualified after Charles won his heat with a time of 2:16.903. Francois finished second in his heat, despite topping his brother's time by crossing the finish line in 2:13.935.

Only Niels Kerstholt of the Netherlands posted a better time than Francois Hamelin after finishing the heat in 2:13.848.

American Eduardo Alvarez also claimed a spot in the next round after coming in third in his heat behind Charles Hamelin and Russia's Semen Elistratov.

Victor An also advanced after winning his heat with a time of 2:20.865. An won gold at this event in 2006 for South Korea, but failed to qualify for the 2010 Games and after a falling out with his home country, the 28-year-old Russian citizen decided to compete for the host nation.

Great Britain's Jack Whelbourne won the first heat after finishing in 2:14.091, while Italy's Yuri Confortola and Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands followed behind Whelbourne to qualify for the semifinals.

Also moving on to the semifinals were China's Tianyu Han and Dequan Chen, Korea's Se Yeong Park and Han-Bin Lee, France's Thibaut Fauconnet, and Canada's Michael Gilday.

American Chris Creveling finished just behind Chen in the final heat to fall short of the semifinals.