Audrey Phaneuf has best Canadian performance since 2010 at Short Track Speed Skating World Junior Championships

Audrey Phaneuf (Boucherville, QC) skated to a sixth place finish in overall standings at the 2015 ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Junior Championships held in Osaka, Japan, therefore earning the best result by a Canadian skater in that competition since 2010.

That year, Laurie Marceau also finished sixth overall in the competition, which took place in Taipei.

Genève Bélanger (Montréal, QC), for her part, skated to a ninth-place finish overall. Canada therefore saw two of its skaters finish among the top-10 at the World Junior Championships for the first time since 2009. Rosalie Tremblay (Saint-Félicien, QC) finished 40th overall.

In 2009 in Sherbrooke, QC, Olympic medalists Marianne St-Gelais and Valérie Maltais were fourth and sixth in overall standings. That year, Canada placed three of its skaters in the top-10 following individual races as Ivanie Blondin, who has won several World Cup medals in long track this season, had finished eighth. Blondin moved on to long track following that competition.

"I'm really happy about finishing sixth. It's my best result in four years and I thought that overall, I raced well. I mostly learned a lot! Also, being linked to Marianne St-Gelais and Valérie Maltais in such a way is great motivation for the future," said Phaneuf, whose silver medal in Saturday's 500m was her first podium finish in an individual race in four career World Junior Championships.

First Canadian skater in the women's 1500m Super Final since 2010
In Sunday's 1000m, Phaneuf, Bélanger and Tremblay were all eliminated in the quarterfinals and respectively finished ninth, 13th and 17th.

Phaneuf was the only Canadian invited to take part in the women's 1500m Super Final, comprised of the top six skaters following their results earned in the individual 500m, 1000m and 1500m races. The 18-year-old skater, who skated in her first World Cup stages with the national senior team earlier this season in Shanghai, Seoul and Dresden, became the first Canadian skater to take part in the competition's last individual event since Laurie Marceau in 2010 in Taipei. Marceau finished fifth that year.

Phaneuf skated to sixth place in that race, Sunday, to end up at that same position in overall standings.

“I made a few mistakes today, which prevented me from going further or getting better results. But overall, I thought I managed things well and I fought through it until the end. I'm satisfied with my performance,” commented Phaneuf.

In the women's relay, Phaneuf, Bélanger, Tremblay and Alyson Charles (Montréal, QC) finished in fourth in the A final, more than 11 seconds away from a bronze medal, with a time of 4:31.945 because a skater fell at the end of race. South Korea (4:18.210), Russia (4:19.006) and Japan (4:20.713) ended up on the podium.

"The relay didn't go quite as well this year. Considering we didn't train that much together and that we had to go through a quick succession of competitions, I thought we managed things well. The exchanges were good and we remained quite calm. It was only a slight fall at the end of the relay that prevented us from being on the podium," explained Phaneuf, who won a silver medal in the relay last year, along with Kim Boutin, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier and Joanie Gervais.

Sasha Alexander Fathoullin: the top male Canadian
Sasha Alexander Fathoullin (Calgary, AB), was the best male skater for Canada at the competition, as the men's team was affected by the absence in certain races of Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC), who had a stomach flu, and Maxime Laoun (Montréal, QC), who sprained his left foot.

Fathoullin, age 19 and the reigning Canadian junior champion, finished seventh in overall standings, one position away from qualifying for the men's Super 1500m.

“I’m considerably satisfied with the results”, said Fathoullin. “I was therefore hoping to do better and medal in the events, but I learned so much about myself and what I have to work on. And I find that much more valuable then winning a medal at this point in my career.”

In Sunday's 1000m, Fathoullin was the only skater in the B final after several skaters had been penalized and disqualified in the semifinals, meaning he finished in fifth place.

“Being fifth is not bad, but it’s not what I had as I goal”, he added. “I wanted to be in the A final for the 1000m, but I skated my best and learned a lot from the semifinals. A lot of unfortunate events happened that basically reduced our team down to me at the end of the day. I wish the playing field was more even with all my teammates at full strength.”

In addition to that fifth-place finish, Fathoullin's seventh-place results in the 500m and 1500m events allowed him to finish in the top-10 of all three events, for his best career performance in three World Junior Championships.

Samuel Girard was back on skates and he took part in the 1000m, Sunday, after being forced on the sidelines on Saturday because of a stomach flu. He finished 13th in the 1000m to take the 20th place in overall standings.

Maxime Laoun finished the competition in 46th place, as he was penalized and eliminated in the 1000m preliminary round. He took the 4th spot in the 1500m B final Saturday.

"I didn't have any high expectations today. In fact, yesterday (Saturday) at this time, I was in bed with a stomach bug and a headache," said Samuel Girard. "Being able to skate today was a very good thing. However, in the 1000m, I didn't have the legs I had at the start of the weekend. In fact, I didn't have any at all!"

"But it was a great experience and I'll always keep in mind that racing incidents or illness can happen anytime. In spite of all that, one must never give up and I still have the Senior Worlds Championships ahead. I'll be ready for that!," added Girard.

More information can be found on Speed Skating Canada website at: www.speedskating.ca.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
1000m W
Audrey Phaneuf: 3rd in her quarterfinal heat and eliminated (final ranking: 9)
Genève Bélanger: 4th in her quarterfinal heat and eliminated (final ranking: 13)
Rosalie Tremblay: 5th in her quarterfinal heat and eliminated (final ranking: 17)
 
1000m M
Sasha Alexander Fathoullin: only skater in B final (final ranking: 5)
Samuel Girard: 4th in his quarterfinal heat and eliminated (final ranking: 13)
Maxime Laoun: penalized in preliminary round and eliminated (final ranking: 73)
 
1500m W Super Final
Audrey Phaneuf: 6th
 
1500m M Super Final
No Canadian took part
 
Relay W
Canada: 4th in A final
(Genève Bélanger, Audrey Phaneuf, Rosalie Tremblay, Alyson Charles) (final ranking: 4)
 
Relay M
Canada: forfeited in semifinals
(Maxime Laoun, Sasha Alexander Fathoullin, Sébastien Gagnon, Samuel Girard) (final ranking: 9)
 
Overall standings W
Audrey Phaneuf: 6
Genève Bélanger: 9
Rosalie Tremblay: 40
 
Overall standings M
Sasha Alexander Fathoullin: 10
Samuel Girard: 20
Maxime Laoun: 46

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.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
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Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC