Kim Boutin and Steven Dubois finish fourth in 500m; Pascal Dion is sixth in 1500m.Photo Credit: International Skating Union

Despite reaching the finals in three different distances, Canadian short track skaters were unable to reach the podium at the ISU World Cup in Nagoya on Saturday.

Kim Boutin made her first 500m final of the season but finished just off the podium in fourth place (43.990). The Sherbrooke native was bumped coming out of the opening turn, and while she was able to stay with the pack for the remainder of the race, she didn’t have enough speed left to crack the top-3.

Italy’s Arianna Fontana brought home gold (43.593), with Natalia Maliszewska of Poland winning silver (43.780) and Fan Kexin of China, bronze (43.865).

It was an identical result by Steven Dubois in the men’s 500m. After a disappointing start to the season in Beijing, the reigning Canadian champion was in medal contention. He advanced through the rounds with ease and used a lightning quick start to earn a second-place result in the finals, but the celebration was short-lived.

After a lengthy video review, the officials penalized Dubois for making contact with Denis Nikisha of Kazakhstan in the straight. Nikisha was promoted into the bronze medal spot, behind Ren Ziwei of China (41.027) and Hwang Daeheon of Korea (40.805).

Things were even more dramatic in the final of the men’s 1500m. Pascal Dion and the rest of the pack were caught by surprise when Yuri Confortola of Italy sped off after the opening gun in what is typically a slower 13-lap race. The remaining skaters did not try and chase him down, deciding to hold back and battle for the two remaining podium spots.

Confortola successfully lapped his competitors to finish the race in 2:22.547, nearly 10 seconds faster than the silver and bronze medalists Hwang Daeheon of Korea (2:31.900) and Sun Long of China (2:32.104). Unfortunately, Dion got stuck near the back of the pack and was unable to break through, finishing sixth (2:32.425).

The day ended with a pair of penalty calls in the relay semifinals. The women’s relay team of Boutin, Courtney Sarault, Danaé Blais and Alyson Charles finished first in their race, but were penalized, resulting in their disqualification. In a reversal of fortunes, the men’s squad of Dubois, Dion, Charles Hamelin and Jordan Pierre-Gilles benefited from a penalty call on their Dutch counterparts, which helped them get advanced to the A Final.

Canada will have a few more chances to reach the podium tomorrow in Nagoya, where medals will be awarded in the 1000m, as well as the men’s, women’s and mixed relays.

Quotes

“I think that today went very well; better than last week! I put down the fastest times in the 500m the whole weekend and felt great. I had the mindset to win starting from the first race and through to the final. That’s how I raced. I was disqualified in the final and, even if I wasn’t in total agreement with the call, that’s something that happens in short track. I have many good things to take out of today’s races and am excited to see what that brings me next time.”

– Steven Dubois

“It was a bit of a weird race. The Italian skater took off really quickly from the start and no one wanted to chase him down, so it was essentially a race for second and third place. I made a bit of a tactical error; I should have moved towards the front given how slowly the race was moving, but I was a bit too patient, and then things were too quick near the end to make any passes. I’m still really happy with my day and my semi-final race which helped me qualify for the A Final.”

– Pascal Dion