Amélie Goulet-Nadon sixth in 1,500 at short track speed skating World Cup opener

Amélie Goulet-Nadon of Laval, Que., was Canada’s sole finalist on Friday at the season-opening short track speed skating World Cup competition and placed sixth in the women’s 1,500 metres.

Meng Wang of China won the gold medal clocking 2:27.169 with world champion Eun-Kyung Choi of South Korea second at 2:27.621 and Yun-Mi Kang of South Korea third at 2:27.694. Goulet-Nadon, on the mend from back problems which cost her a month of training this off-season, ran out of gas in the final and placed sixth in 2:35.330.

‘’At this point, making the final was a bonus for Amélie,’’ said Canadian national team coach Guy Thibault of Montreal. ‘’She skated very well in the first two rounds. But she’s starting a step behind the others. Her back didn’t bother her at all, but she’s hasn’t attained her top fitness level yet.’’

Tania Vicent of Montreal and Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, B.C., and were eliminated in the semifinals and placed eighth and 16th respectively.

In the men’s 1,500 final, Olympic champion Apolo Anton Ohno of the U.S., was the winner in 2:22.270, world champion Hyun-Soo Ahn of South Korea was second in 2:22.414 and JiaJun Li of China third in 2:22.656.

Jonathan Guilmette of Montreal and Jean-Francois Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., were both eliminated in the semifinals and Steve Robillard of Montreal was eliminated in the first round. Guilmette, a double Olympic medallist in 2002 suffered a serious back injury at the season ending world championships last winter.

‘’I didn’t have a very good race in the semis and I certainly had the capabilities to best those guys,’’ said Guilmette, who had a late start in his season preparations. ‘’I came in here with no expectations but I think I under estimated how well I could skate here.’’

In the men’s 5,000 metre relay Canada won its opening heat with Robillard, Monette, Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., and Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., to advance to the semifinals.

In the women’s 3,000 relay, the Canadian women were second with Goulet-Nadon, Vicent, Kraus and Anouk Leblanc-Boucher of Montreal to advance to the semis.

Competition continues Saturday with the men’s and women’s 500 metres and the relay semifinals.