It was a double silver medal day for Canada at the ISU World Short Track Championships on Saturday, as Kim Boutin and Samuel Girard both skated to second place finishes in the 1500m. Both sit third in the overall World Championships classification after two distances.
Boutin, of Sherbrooke, Que., earned her third medal in the 1500m this season and bested her result in the same distance at last year’s World Championships by one position. She led the pack several times in the final race but was overtaken by gold medalist Min Jeong Choi of Korea in the last laps. Boutin’s time of 2:29.803 placed her ahead of Russia’s Sofia Prosvirnova on the podium.
“I am Vice Champion of the World in the 1500m, so that is definitely satisfying for me,” expressed Boutin after her race. “It’s the best World Championships result of my career, so I am very happy with how it went. I made good choices during the race and worked hard right to the end to win the medal.”
Boutin elaborated on her objectives for Sunday. “All of the best skaters are here at the World Championships and the women are all fierce, so the races are taken to another level,” she explained. “I’m really going to try and focus on my technique tomorrow to give myself a chance at another podium.”
In the men’s 1500m, the final was recalled mid-way through the first race after Girard was taken out by a Japanese competitor. In the second start, the native of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que. led the field with four laps to go but was ultimately passed by two Koreans to finish with a time of 2:31.685.
A penalty to the skater who crossed the line first vaulted Girard into silver medal position, behind Hyo Jun Lim and ahead of June Seo Lee, both of Korea. It is the second time Girard has captured a silver medal in the 1500m at the World Championships, his first coming in the 2016-2017 season.
“Being able to perform at the World Championships and finish the year strong was really my objective,” said Girard about his performance. “This medal proves that my mission was accomplished.”
Girard was happy with his strategy during the final race. “I had skated a few hard laps during the first start of the final, so my legs were quite tired,” he explained. “But I knew the others would feel the same, so I decided to lead the race from the front and set the pace. That strategy allowed me to surprise my competitors a bit and be in a good position to win a medal.”
Lachenaie, Que.’s Steven Dubois skated in the 1500m final with Girard and finished fourth. In the B finals of the same distance, Courtney Sarault (Moncton, N.B.) and defending World Champion Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Que.) raced to 11th and 14th place respectively in the distance rankings.
Participating in the B final of the 500m, Girard finished second to earn a sixth overall placement in that distance. His was the best Canadian result in the 500m.
The women’s relay team qualified for Sunday’s final, finishing second in their semi-final despite an untimely fall in the last laps. They will race for the podium against the Netherlands, Russia and Korea. The Canadian men finished fourth in their relay semi-final and will have to settle for a place in the B final.
Other Canadian results on Saturday:
- Boutin – Fifth in 500m semi-final; ninth overall
- Hamelin – Third in the 500m quarterfinal; 11th overall
- Alyson Charles (Montreal, Que.) – Fourth in 500m quarterfinal; 14th overall
- Sarault – Fifth in 500m quarterfinal; 19th overall
- Dubois – Penalty in the 500m quarterfinal; 19th overall
- Charles – did not skate in 1500m ranking final; 39th overall
Sunday will see Boutin, Hamelin and Dubois skate in the 1000m quarterfinals with the hopes of reaching the podium later in the afternoon. Their teammates did not qualify for the main event in this distance.
Based on results from all three distances, the top eight athletes per gender will participate in the 3000m super final on Sunday afternoon in a bid to be crowned the overall World Champion.