Charles Hamelin collected a bronze medal in the men’s 1500m and finished sixth in the 500m after being slowed down by a fall in that event’s semifinals, Saturday, to find himself fifth in provisional overall standings with one day to go at the 2015 ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Championships.
On the women’s side, rookie Kim Boutin came up with a pleasantly surprising result in the women’s 1500m, where she reached the A final in her very first career race at the World Championships.
Charles Hamelin had Canada’s best overall performance of the day, as his combined results allowed him to continue to hope for a podium finish in overall standings, leaving him 13 points away from Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands, who stands in third place. If Hamelin is able to bridge the gap, he would earn his sixth overall podium finish in 12 World Championships. The skater from Sainte-Julie, QC finished third in overall standings at last year’s World Championships, held in Montreal.
The top eight in overall standings following Sunday’s 1000m, men’s and women’s, will qualify for the 3000m superfinals later in the day, and therefore continue earning points for the overall world title.
“It’s not over,” said Hamelin. “It’s always the same thing at the World Championships, nothing’s decided until the last race. So I’ll do everything in my power to get the maximum amount of points in the 1000m, and then use the 3000m to take a shot at the world title.”
Hamelin took third place in Saturday’s 1500m with a time of two minutes and 18.117 seconds, behind Semen Elistratov of Russia (2:18.096), the winner, and Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands (2:18.104), second. The veteran Canadian skater, who won six medals this World Cup season, including three in the 1500m distance, earned a spot on the podium, Saturday, by finishing ahead of South Korea’s Park Se Yeong (2:18.197), fourth, and Russia’s Victor An (2:18.254), fifth.
“It was an eventful race, with a lot of overtaking, but I was able to manage things well,” said Hamelin of the 1500m final. “I would have liked to finish at a higher rank, but it was very close between the top three skaters, and I still had a good race, so I’ll take this result with a smile.”
In the men’s 500m, Hamelin won his quarterfinal heat but fell in the semifinals, and had to settle for the B final. As did Elistratov, however. Hamelin skated to a second-place finish in the B final, good for sixth place overall, one rank ahead of the Russian, to stay in the race for a podium in overall standings.
“I fell in the second turn and my blade no longer had any bite,” explained Hamelin. “The ice surface isn’t very clean here, and I must have stepped on some debris.”
Hamelin has 16 points in overall standings after two events, while Elistratov has 36 points, two more than China’s Wu Dajing, who won Saturday’s 500m. Knegt is third with 29 points and Hungary’s Shaolin Sandor Liu is fourth with 23 points.
Boutin in the 1500m A final
Kim Boutin (Sherbrooke, QC), who is taking part in her first Senior World Championships, started off her day by qualifying for the women’s 1500m A final, as a result of finishing second of her heat in the semifinals. She took seventh place in the A final with a time of 2:32.923, during a race which was won in 2:31.392 by Arianna Fontana. The Italian skater finished ahead of South Korea’s Shim Suk Hee (2:31.472).
“That was my goal, to skate in a final this weekend, so it’s a good thing that I’ve already achieved that, it’s a very positive step,” said Boutin, 20. “But I’m a little bit disappointed with finishing seventh. Five laps from the end, I told myself I had to give it my all, and I found myself skating in front, but that’s when all my technical flaws started to come out, due to my stress level. I realized that it’s not always a good thing to go all out so early during a race. It’s unfortunate, because I was heading towards a good race. But I’ve gained experience from this, I still have things to learn, and it’s promising for the future. ”
Boutin’s spot in the A final was the highlight of the day on the Canadian women’s team. Boutin was eliminated in the 500m quarterfinals, while Marianne St-Gelais and Kasandra Bradette, both from Saint-Félicien, QC, had to settle for the B finals in both the women’s 500m and 1500m events.
St-Gelais won the women’s 1500m B final to finish ninth overall in that distance, while Bradette, who is skating in the World Championships for the first time, was fifth in the same race, good for 13th place overall.
Bradette and St-Gelais went to the B final in the 1500m after respectively finishing third and fourth of their heat in the semifinals. They skated together in the same group, which also featured top-level skaters Fontana and Shim, who took the top two spots in that heat before going 1-2 in the A final.
In the women’s 500m, St-Gelais was second in the B final to finish sixth overall, while Bradette followed in third place (seventh overall).
“It wasn’t a very good day. The results weren’t up to par with what I’ve done this year,” noted St-Gelais, who won eight medals in individual events this season on the World Cup circuit. “But there are still positives to take away from this.”
In the women’s provisional overall standings after two events, St-Gelais was ninth, Boutin 11th and Bradette 12th.
A learning experience for Girard and Duffy
Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC) was eliminated from the men’s 1500m at the semifinal stage. He was penalized during the race, therefore joining his Canadian teammate Patrick Duffy (Oakville, ON) on the list of sanctioned skaters in that distance. Friday, Duffy was penalized in the qualification round.
Duffy and Girard, who skated in the 500m ranking races, Saturday morning, respectively finished 20th and 21st in overall standings in that distance.
Duffy and Girard are both taking part in the World Championships for the first time.
In the relay, the Canadian men’s team of Hamelin, Girard, Duffy and Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, QC) finished third behind China and South Korea in their semifinal heat, Saturday, and will skate in Sunday’s B final. The women’s team, comprised of St-Gelais, Bradette, Boutin and Valérie Maltais (Saguenay, La Baie borough, QC) were third in their heat in Saturday’s semifinals, behind China and Japan. Because South Korea was advanced to the A final and Russia disqualified, there will not be a B final as there will only B two teams.
“The last exchange between Kim (Boutin) and I was really not good, we made a mistake we never should have made. We barely touched each other’s arm,” said St-Gelais of the women’s relay, which earned three podium finishes over the 2014-15 World Cup season. “The team is disappointed to only make it to the B final, but the fact remains that we absolutely want to win Sunday’s race.”
The competition will end on Sunday with the 1000m quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, in addition to the 3000m super finals and the relay finals.
Each of the six Canadian skaters taking part in the individual events at the World Championships will be skating in the 1000m, as they all have qualified for the quarterfinal stage – Hamelin, Girard and Duffy in the men’s event, as well as St-Gelais, Bradette and Boutin on the women’s side.
More info, including the full schedule and results, are available on Speed Skating Canada’s Website: www.speedskating.ca.
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS:
Overall ranking – after two days
Marianne St-Gelais: 9
Kim Boutin: 11
Kasandra Bradette: 12
Charles Hamelin: 5
Samuel Girard: 16
Patrick Duffy: 21
Marianne St-Gelais: 2nd in the B final (final ranking: 6)
Kasandra Bradette: 3rd in the B final (final ranking: 7)
Kim Boutin: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 15)
Charles Hamelin: 2nd in the B final (overall ranking: 6)
Patrick Duffy: 2nd in his ranking race heat (final ranking: 20)
Samuel Girard: 3rd in his ranking race heat (final ranking: 21)
Kim Boutin: 7th in the A final (final ranking: 7)
Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the B final (final ranking: 9)
Kasandra Bradette: 5th in the B final (final ranking: 13)
Charles Hamelin: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
Samuel Girard: penalty in the semi-finals and eliminated (final ranking: 18)
Patrick Duffy: penalty in his heat and eliminated (final ranking: 39)
Canada : 3rd in the semifinals
(Marianne St-Gelais, Kim Boutin, Kasandra Bradette, Valérie Maltais)
Canada : 3rd in the semifinals and will take part in the B final Sunday (Patrick Duffy, Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Olivier Jean)
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 13,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.
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