Noh Jink-yu of South Korea won gold in the men's 1,500 in 2 minutes, 15.661 seconds, with teammates Kwak Yoon-gy second in 2:15.755 and Sin Da-woon in third in 2:15.861.
In the women's race, China's Li Jianrou finished in 2:23.217, teammate Liu Qiuhong was second in 2:23.411 and Canada's Marie-Eve Drolet took third place in 2:23.474. Jessica Smith of the United States was fifth in 2:23.588.
Li, fifth in the event at last year's world championships, trailed Liu for most of the race but passed her teammate on the final lap.
"It is my first gold at world championships,'' Li said. "I was relaxed in the final, which helped my performance.''
No. 1-ranked Cho Ha-ri of South Korea failed to make the final.
"The absence of Cho in the final made me feel more confident,'' Li said. "She is one of my strongest rivals.''
Two finals were scheduled for Saturday - the 500-meter men's and women's events - followed by six championship races Sunday on the final day.
The Sunday races are 1,000- and 3,000-meter men's and women's races, and relays over 3,000 meters for women and 5,000 for men.