(ISN) – SALT LAKE CITY – Marianne St-Gelais of St-Félicien, Que., and Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., each won an individual bronze medal then helped Canada to another third place finish in the relay on Sunday to conclude the first stop on the ISU World Cup circuit in short track speed skating.
Canada ends the competition with a gold, silver and three bronze.
In the women’s 500-m final, Kexin Fan of China took the gold in 42.696, Arianna Fontana of Italy was second in 42.865 and St-Gelais followed in third in 42.950.
”My strategy in the 500 is much different this season,” said St-Gelais, a three-time Olympic medallist. ”I have to be more aggressive and create more situations without jeopardizing my chances to advance to the next rounds. In the final I got caught off guard by Arianna, I didn’t expect her to make her move on the second straightaway.”
In the semifinal, St-Gelais broke her Canadian record clocking 42.620 while Fan clocked a world record 42.504.
”The races were fast today,” St-Gelais said. ”It was a successful weekend overall and a great way to start a new season and it gives me confidence for the rest of the year. My day could have been better result-wise but I feel I’m reaching a new level in the 500.”
Courtney Shmyr of Langley, B.C., was eliminated in the quarterfinals for 15th place.
South Koreans were 1-2 in the women’s 1500-m final with Suk Hee Shim first in 1:35.750 and Alang Kin second in 1:35.831. Maltais followed in 1:36.012.
”I got my confidence back today, I was feeling pretty nervous going in,” said Maltais. ”The more I advanced through the rounds the more I found the rhythm I had last season and I was able to instinctively react to situations.”
Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, Que., was second in the B final for seventh overall and Joanie Gervais of Saguenay, Que., was eliminated in the quarterfinals for 11th.
In the women’s 3000-m relay, South Korea took the gold in 4:06.916, China was second in 4:06.952 and Canada was third in a national record 4:07.308 with Maltais, St-Gelais, Kasandra Bradette of St-Félicien and Boutin.
”Getting the record and a medal is a fantastic way for us to start the season,” said Maltais. ”It was a new team and we did a lot of good in our first competition together.”
Boutin agreed with her teammate.
”It’s what we needed to start the season,” she said. ”We were strong right off the start but got passed during an exchange and we hope to rectify that for the next World Cup. For me it’s my first World Cup medal and I’ll always remember it.”
It was also a first World Cup medal for Bradette.
”It’s always fun to win a medal as a team,” said Bradette. ”It’s a unique feeling that’s hard to describe. We broke the ice tonight and it augurs well for the next World Cup in Montreal.”
In the men’s 5000-m relay Canada won the B final for fifth place with Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., Charles Hamelin of St-Julie, Que., Patrick Duffy of Etobicoke, Ont., and Samuel Bélanger-Marceau of St-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que.
In the men’s 1000-m, Hamelin won the B final for fifth place. Bastille was ousted in the quarterfinals and was 16th.
In the men’s 500, Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boileau, Que., was the top Canadian reaching the quarterfinals for 10th spot. Bélanger-Marceau ranked18th.
On Saturday, St-Gelais took the gold in the first 1000-m and Hamelin the bronze in the 1500-m.
The second stop on the circuit is next weekend November 14-16 at the Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal.
Marianne St-Gelais: bronze medal (A Final). Canadian record 42.620, previous mark 62.664 set by Gelais at 2013 World Cup in Dresden, Germany.
Coutney Shmyr: eliminated in quarterfinal
Samuel Girard: eliminated in quarterfinal
Samuel Bélanger-Marceau: eliminated in repechage semifinals
Valérie Maltais: bronze medal (A Final)
Kim Boutin: 2nd in B Final
Joanie Gervais: eliminated in quarterfinal
Charles Hamelin: 1st in B Final
Guillaume Bastille: eliminated in quarterfinals
3000-m relay W
Canada: bronze medal (A Final) Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Kim Boutin, Kasandra Bradette. Canadian record 4:07.308 (previous mark 4:07.628 at 2013 World Cup in Dresden, Germany). First World Cup medal for Kim Boutin and Kasandra Bradette.
5000-m relay M
Canada: 1st in B final (Charles Hamelin, Guillaume Bastille, Patrick Duffy, Samuel Bélanger-Marceau)