by Michel Belanger
December 18, 2013, TRENTINO, Italy (ISN) – Speed skater Yoan Gauthier of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., claimed Canada’s first medal at the 26th Winter Universiade thanks to a third-place finish in the men’s 1500-metre on the opening day of the short track competition, Wednesday.
In the final, Gauthier, a veteran of two junior world championships (2012, 2013), crossed the finish line in 2:17.742, just behind South Koreans Noh Jin-Kyu (2:16.810) and Um Cheon-Ho (2:16.852).
Noh is the world record-holder in the event (2:09.041, Shanghai, 2011) and the 2011 overall world champion, while Um set a new Universiade mark of 2:16.052 earlier on Wednesday, in the quarter-finals.
Gauthier was consistent throughout the day on his way to the podium, winning his qualifying heat (2:27.185) before placing second in both his quarter-final (2:16.164) and semifinal (2:16.767).
“I was a little stressed in the early goings. It was as if I had forgotten how to skate against other countries. But as the competition progressed I felt more and more comfortable,” said the Collège de Maisonneuve student. “In the final, I was pleasantly surprised by my performance considering I was the only Canadian against, among others, three South Koreans.
“I didn’t realize right away I had just won Canada’s first medal of the Games. It makes it even more special.”
Vincent Cournoyer of Boucherville, Que., and Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, both members of the senior national team, also made it to the semifinals in the men’s 1500 but failed to advance to the medal race.
Competing with Gauthier in the second semi, Cournoyer was fourth across the line and ended up in the B final, where he placed second to finish ninth overall.
Bastille, a 2010 Olympic gold medallist in the relay, was disqualified in the first semi and took 12th place in the final standings.
In the women’s 1500, all three Canadians also made it to the semifinals but none of them qualified for the medal round.
Montreal’s Namasthée Harris-Gauthier and Keri Morrison of Burlington, Ont., both earned spots in the B final and finished ninth and 11th overall, respectively.
Caroline Truchon of Saguenay, Que., was stopped in the semis and ended up in 13th position.
Following the individual competition, Canada’s men’s relay won its heat over Hungary (6:56.783) and France (7:02.642) to qualify for Thursday’s semifinals. Bastille and Cournoyer teamed up with Patrick Duffy of Oakville, Ont., and Sébastien Landry of Montreal to clock 6:56.724 on 5000 metres.
There were no qualifications for the women’s 3000 relay, all entries advancing straight to the semis.
Thursday’s short track schedule also includes the individual 500m events.
Team Canada website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/winter/2013/index
Trentino 2013 website:http://www.universiadetrentino.org/en
TEAM CANADA RESULTS & SCHEDULE (all times local / 6 hours ahead of EST)
Official FISU results: FISU
1. Caroline Truchon, Saguenay, Que., 2:29.353, advances to semifinals.
2. Keri Morrison, Burlington, Ont., 2:34.777, advances to semifinals.
2. Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, Montreal, Que., 2:28.149, advances to semifinals.
4. Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, Montreal, Que., 2:29.630, advances to B final.
4. Keri Morrison, Burlington, Ont., 2:27.461, advances to B final; 5. Caroline Truchon, Saguenay, Que., 2:27.722, does not advance, finishes 13th overall.
3. Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, Montreal, Que., 2:26.902, finishes 9th overall; 5. Keri Morrison, Burlington, Ont., 2:27.217, finishes 11th overall.
2. Guillaume Bastille, Rivière-du-Loup, Que., 2:26.995, advances to quarter-finals.
1. Vincent Cournoyer, Boucherville, Que., 2:20.823, advances to quarter-finals.
2. Yoan Gauthier, Rivière-du-Loup, Que., 2:27.185, advances to quarter-finals.
2. Yoan Gauthier, Rivière-du-Loup, Que., 2:16.164, advances to semifinals.
1. Vincent Cournoyer, Boucherville, Que., 2:19.672, advances to semifinals.
2. Guillaume Bastille, Rivière-du-Loup, Que., 2:24.554, advances to semifinals.
Guillaume Bastille, Rivière-du-Loup, Que., PEN, does not advance, finishes 12th overall.
2. Yoan Gauthier, Rivière-du-Loup, Que., 2:16.767, advances to A final; 4. Vincent Cournoyer, Boucherville, Que., 2:16.970, advances to B final.
2. Vincent Cournoyer, Boucherville, Que., 2:29.007, finishes 9th overall.
1. Noh Jin-Kyu, South Korea, 2:16.810; 2. Um Cheon-Ho, South Korea, 2:16.852; 3. Yoan Gauthier, Rivière-du-Loup, Que., 2:17.742.
MEN’S 5000m RELAY
1. Canada (Guillaume Bastille, Rivière-du-Loup, Que.; Vincent Cournoyer, Boucherville, Que.; Patrick Duffy, Oakville, Ont.; Sébastien Landry, Montreal, Que.), 6:56.724, advances to semifinals Thursday at 12:30 p.m. EST (6:30 p.m. Trentino).
14:00 500m (women & men)
18:30 3000m relay semifinals (women)
18:30 5000m relay semifinals (men)
14:00 1000m (women & men)
18:30 3000m relay final (women)
18:30 5000m relay final (men)
About the Winter Universiade
The Winter Universiade is a biennial international multi-sport event open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event. The competition program of the Trentino Universiade includes alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey (women & men), nordic combined, ski jumping, snowboarding and speed skating (short & long track).
About Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, 11,000 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 55 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit www.cis-sic.ca or follow us on: