After nearly a month of training, Canada’s short track team is set to return to competition this weekend in Almaty, Kazakhstan for the ISU World Cup Short Track #3.The event runs from December 7-9 at the Halyk Arena and will mark the first time that Kazakhstan will host a World Cup stage in short track.
The competition gets underway Friday with the qualifying races in all distances. The finals for the men’s and ladies 1000m and 1500m(1) races will take place on Saturday, while those for the men’s and ladies 500m and 1500m(2) races, along with all three relays (men’s, ladies and mixed gender) are set for Sunday.
The Canadian team will look to add to the six medals – one gold, one silver and four bronze – and eight top-5 finishes they have earned on the World Cup circuit so far this season.
A pair of rookie skaters found the podium in their World Cup debut in Calgary, with Alyson Charles of Montreal, Que. winning two 500m bronze medals and Courtney Sarault of Moncton, N.B. winning a silver in the 1500m. The ladies relay team set a new national record, which earned them a bronze medal. Canada added two more medals the following weekend in Salt Lake City, with Charles winning gold in the 1000m and Steven Dubois capturing the first individual World Cup medal of his career with a bronze medal performance in the 1500m.
A handful of Canadians narrowly missed the podium during the first two stages, including fourth place finishes for Alyson Charles (1000m), Sam Girard (500m), Charle Cournoyer (1000m) and fifth place results for Pascal Dion (1500m, 1500m), Charles Hamelin (500m) and Camille de Serres-Rainville (1500m). The men’s relay team also finished fourth in Calgary, despite establishing a new Canadian record.
Kim Boutin, last year’s Female Short Track Skater of the Year as selected by Speed Skating Canada, will join the team in Almaty for her first international competition of the season. She returns to the ice following an incredibly successful 2017-2018 campaign where she won three Olympic medals in PyeongChang, along with seven individual World Cup medals (2 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze) and a bronze medal at the World Championship.
Courtney Sarault will not make the trip to Kazakhstan; instead she will remain in Canada to focus on training for the upcoming 2019 ISU World Junior Short Track Championships.She won three medals and finished second overall at last season’s World Junior Championships and will look to cap off her junior career with similar success at this year’s event, which takes place in Montreal from January 25-27.
Full list of athletes that will be skating this weekend
- BLAIS, Cédrik (Châteauguay, QC)
- COURNOYER, Charle (Boucherville, QC)
- DION, Pascal (Montréal, Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC)
- DUBOIS, Steven (Lachenaie, QC)
- GIRARD, Samuel (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC)
- HAMELIN, Charles (Sainte-Julie, QC)
- BLAIS, Danaé (Châteauguay, QC)
- BOUTIN, Kim (Sherbrooke, QC)
- CHARLES, Alyson (Montréal, QC)
- DE SERRES-RAINVILLE, Camille (Montréal, QC)
- DESMARAIS, Alison (Vanderhoof, BC)
- GAGNON, Claudia (Saguenay, La Baie, QC)