Bronze for St. Gelais & Hamelin in 1500 m

Bronze for St. Gelais and Hamelin in 1500 m at World Short Track Championships in Hungary

DEBRECEN, Hungary - Canadians Marianne St. Gelais and Charles Hamelin each won bronze medals in the 1,500 metres at the World Short Track Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. Saturday's schedule at the Fonix Arena features the 500 metres and men's relay semifinals.

At the world championships, three athletes each skate the 500-, 1,000- and 1,500-metre distances. A super final takes place in the 3,000 metres, featuring the top eight skaters in the overall ranking. The relay rounds will be skated over the three days.

Charles Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Que., ranked 12th in the 1,500 metres in this season's World Cup standings with two bronze medals in the two races, was edged out of the silver in the last lap. Koreans Do Woon Sin and Yun-Jae Kim skated to gold and silver medals, respectively. Sin had a winning time of 2:27.062, followed by Kim at 2:27.101 and Hamelin at 2:27.209.

"The day was good (but) the ice was not as good as I had expected. It was a bit more difficult on that side," said Hamelin. "It was a good final for me. It was a tough one because the ice was not perfect - it was dry. It was a little more difficult for us to skate smoothly.

"I thought I had the legs to win one," added Hamelin. "I had my place (in second) stolen by the Korean (Kim) behind me with a little bump, so he took my spot and I finished third. I'm happy with my day and it leaves me in a good position for tomorrow and Sunday."

This was Hamelin's third 1,500-metre medal at the world championships, having previously earned a silver and bronze. Competing in his 10th consecutive world championships, the 28-year-old now has four gold medals, six silver and five bronze.

St. Gelais, whose best world championship placing in the 1,500 metres was 18th in 2011, took advantage of a two-skater spill to move into third place. Unfortunately, teammate Valérie Maltais, of La Baie, Que., was one of the skaters to fall. The 22-year-old was tracking closing behind the gold and silver medalists, but had to settle for fifth place. Her best ranking in the 1,500 at a world championship was 11th in 2009.

"I feel great (about the bronze medal). I had a little bit of chance out there. It's short track, we always expect something like that during a race," said St. Gelais. "I'm proud of what I did today. It was hard in the first round (quarterfinals), my legs were kind of heavy. In the semifinal, I did a really good race. It was my first A final in the 1,500 and I'm proud of what I did. I hope I'm going to have a medal in a better way."

Ranked 29th in the 1,500 metres during the World Cup this season, the native of St. Félicien, Que., earned her first career medal in this distance at a world championship with a bronze. In the seven-skater final, the 23-year-old St. Gelais came up from the back of the pack to finish in a time of two minutes and 24.694 seconds. Two Koreans took gold and silver, with Seung-Hi Park taking first place (2:23.634) and Suk Hee Shim in second (2:23.755).

In his first career world championship race Michael Gilday, of Yellowknife, joined Hamelin in the final. He finished in fifth place in a time of 2:27.437. The 26-year-old reached the final with second place finishes in both the quarterfinals and semifinals.

Olivier Jean, Lachenaie, Que., who did not race this year in the 1,500 metres during the World Cup season, had a final ranking of 17th. He was second in his quarterfinal heat, but then placed sixth in the same semifinal as Hamelin. The 28-year-old was positioning himself in third and fourth place for most of the race until he appeared to lose an edge on a skate blade.

Marie-Ève Drolet, of Laterrière, Que., had a difficult start to the world championships. The top ranked Canadian in the 1,500 metres from this season's World Cup circuit at sixth, and bronze medallist in the distance at the world championships in 2012 and 2001, was third in her quarterfinal heat and eliminated.

Jessica Hewitt, of Kamloops, B.C., teamed-up with Drolet, Maltais and St. Gelais in the relay semifinals. They finished in second place in a time for 4:19.466 behind Korea (4:15.233) to move on to Sunday's final. China and Japan advanced from the other semifinal. The Netherlands and Russia were third and fourth, respectively, in Canada's heat.