Bélanger & Gauthier are Canadian junior champions

Quebec’s Genève Bélanger and Yoan Gauthier are Canadian junior short track champions
Canadian Junior Short Track Championships wrap-up today in Toronto

TORONTO
– Four familiar faces will be returning to the world junior championships in February to represent Canada, as Genève Bélanger, Audrey Phaneuf, David Goulet and Yoan Gauthier were amongst the top four male and female skaters at the Canadian Junior Short Track Championships ending today at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke, Ont.

The Canadian championships served to select the Canadian team for the 2013 World Junior Championships being held in Warsaw, Poland, from Feb. 22-24. Canada will send the top four ranked men and top three women from this championship. The women’s line-up will be completed once a bye exception request has been evaluated. The final ranking is based on the total points from all four races.

Quebec skaters swept the top three women’s spots. Montreal’s Bélanger was the overall women’s champion with a total of 2,994 points after four races. Phaneuf, of Boucherville, was second with 2,844 points, followed by Joanie Gervais, of Jonquière, in third place with 2,652 points.

“I am really happy. By coming here, I wanted to qualify for the world junior championships,” said Bélanger. “But I didn’t necessarily expect to finish first overall. So I’m really please with my results.”

On the men’s side, Gauthier, of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., repeated as national junior men’s champion with 3,543 points. Sasha Fathoullin of Calgary earned his ticket to Poland with 3,448 points for second place. Goulet, of Montreal, who was second overall last season, took third spot with 2,510 points. Host club skater William Preudhomme of Toronto claimed the final spot with 2,072 points.

“It was a super weekend. I arrive here stressed out a little bit without really knowing why,” said Gauthier. “But after the first race, the stress dropped. I went and captured gold in the 1,500 metres and again in the 500 metres (on the first day).

“I was pretty consistent. The objective was to be consistent and qualify for the worlds,” added Gauthier. “In the super 1,500 metres (today), I was already assured a ticket to Poland, so the stress wasn’t there. The goal was to get the (Canadian junior) title.”

The championships, hosted by the Toronto Speed Skating Club, featured 32 junior men and women competing in the 500-metre and 1,500-metre distances on Saturday, and the 1,000- and super 1,500-metre races today.

In the first distance of the day, Joanie Gervais of Jonquière, Que., took the 1,000-metre gold medal in a time of one minute and 43.672 seconds, also earning 1,000 points. Phaneuf captured the silver medal and 816 points in a time of 1:43.892. The bronze medal and 666 points went to Lydiane Cournoyer of Boucherville, Que. She had a time of 1:44.336. Léa Thibault of Laval, Que., fell in the race and dropped to fourth place with a time of 2:25.709, but still collected 543 points. Bélanger won the B final to earn 362 points.

In the junior men’s 1,000-metre final, Fathoullin won the gold medal in a time of one minute and 37.200 seconds, earning 1,000 points towards the final ranking. The silver medal and 816 points went to Goulet, who skated in a time of 1:37.363. Sébastien Gagnon of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., earned the bronze medal and 666 points with a time of 1:37.931. Gauthier, yesterday’s 500- and 1,500-metre winner, came in fourth place after falling in the final. He earned 543 points. Preudhomme won the B final, placing fifth overall in the 1,000 metres and collecting 443 points.

In the second 1,500-metre race of the championships, Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, Que., won the women’s gold medal and collected 1,000 points. She crossed the finish line in a time of two minutes and 54.242 seconds, edging Bélanger (2:54.201) by almost six one hundredths (0.059) of a second. Phaneuf won the bronze medal with a time of 2:54.426. Jamie MacDonald of Fort St. James, B.C., came in fourth place, with Gervais taking fifth place and Lydiane Cournoyer of Boucherville, Que., the sixth spot.

In the men’s 1,500 metres today, Gauthier won his third of four races this weekend in a time of two minutes and 37.824 seconds. Fathoullin claimed the silver medal in 2:27.957 and Goulet had bronze with a time of 2:38.904. Preudhomme took fourth place in 2:39.064, followed by Gagnon in fifth and Maxime Laoun of Montreal in sixth place.

The Canadian and world junior championships are important development paths to reaching the Olympic Games. National team members François-Louis Tremblay, a five-time Olympic medallist, and triple Olympic medallist Charles Hamelin both competed at the Canadian junior championships and represented Canada at the world juniors.

The 2012 Canadian Junior Championships were made possible through the support of Speed Skating Canada, the Ontario Speed Skating Association, Intact Insurance, Apogée and the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

The top skaters in each race and overall are as follows. For complete and official results, visit SSC’s results page.

Overall women:
1st - Genève Bélanger (Quebec), 2,994 points
2nd - Audrey Phaneuf (Quebec), 2,844 points
3rd - Joanie Gervais (Quebec), 2,652 points
4th - Kim Boutin (Quebec), 2,181 points

Overall men:
1st - Yoan Gauthier (Quebec), 3,543 points
2nd - Sasha Fathoullin (Alberta), 3,448 points
3rd - David Goulet (Quebec), 2,510 points
4th - William Preudhomme (Ontario), 2,072 points

Women’s 500 metres:
Gold - Audrey Phaneuf (Quebec), 45.84 seconds (1,000 points)
Silver - Genève Bélanger (Quebec), 45.92 (816 points)
Bronze - Joanie Gervais (Quebec), 46.13 (666 points)
4th - Léa Thibault (Quebec), 46.28 (543 points)

Men’s 500 metres:
Gold - Yoan Gauthier (Quebec), 42.624 seconds (1,000 points)
Silver - Sasha Fathoullin (Alberta), 42.985 (816 points)
Bronze - David Goulet (Quebec), 43.069 (666 points)
4th - William Preudhomme (Ontario), 43.797 (543 points)

Women’s 1,000 metres:
Gold - Joanie Gervais (Quebec), 1:43.672 (1,000 points)
Silver - Audrey Phaneuf (Quebec), 1:43.892 (816 points)
Bronze - Lydiane Cournoyer (Quebec), 1:44.336 (666 points)
4th - Léa Thibault (Quebec), 2:25.709 (543 points)

Men’s 1,000 metres:
Gold - Sasha Fathoullin (Alberta), 1:37.200 (1,000 points)
Silver - David Goulet (Quebec), 1:37.363 (816 points)
Bronze - Sébastien Gagnon (Québec), 1:37.931 (666 points)
4th - Yoan Gauthier (Quebec), 1:57.085 (543 points)

Women’s 1,500 metres:
Gold - Genève Bélanger (Quebec), 2:41.61 (1,000 points)
Silver - Jamie MacDonald (B.C.), 2:41.72 (816 points)
Bronze - Lydiane Cournoyer (Quebec), 2:42.56 (666 points)
4th - Joanie Gervais (Quebec), 2:43.64 (543 points)

Men’s 1,500 metres:
Gold - Yoan Gauthier (Quebec), 2:25.132 (1,000 points)
Silver - Sasha Fathoullin (Alberta), 2:25.219 (816 points)
Bronze - Maxime Laoun (Quebec), 2:25.546 (666 points)
4th - William Preudhomme (Ontario), 2:25.797 (543 points)

Women’s Super 1,500 metres:
Gold - Kim Boutin (Quebec), 2:54.242 (1,000 points)
Silver - Genève Bélanger (Quebec), 2:54.201 (816 points)
Bronze - Audrey Phaneuf (Quebec) 2:54.426 (666 points)
4th - Jamie MacDonald (B.C.), 2:54.688 (543 points)
5th - Joanie Gervais (Quebec), 2:55.201 (443 points)

Men’s Super 1,500 metres:
Gold - Yoan Gauthier (Quebec), 2:37.824 (1,000 points)
Silver - Sasha Fathoullin (Alberta), 2:27.957 (816 points)
Bronze - David Goulet (Quebec), 2:38.904 (666 points)
4th - William Preudhomme (Ontario), 2:39.064 (543 points)