Canada concludes short track world juniors with two more medals

BOLZANO, Italy – Guillaume Blais-Dufour of Quebec City and Canada’s women’s relay team scooped up bronze medals on Sunday to conclude the short track speed skating world junior championships.

In the men’s 1,000, Yun-Jae Kim of South Korea was the winner in 1:25.993 with his compatriot Han-Bin Lee second in 1:26.250 and Blais-Dufour third in 1:26.623. It was Blais-Dufour’s second medal of the competition. He won silver Saturday in the 500 but a spill in Saturday’s relay semifinal left him with a severe headache.

‘’I wasn’t sure this morning if everything was O.K.,’’ said Blais Dufour. ‘’I decided to go round by round and I was able to conserve energy and surprised myself by getting to the final. I was able to stay focused in the final and forget about my headache. Getting two medals this weekend is way beyond expectations for me.’’

Maxime Fortin of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., was eliminated in the semifinals for fifth place while Vincent Cournoyer of Boucherville, Que., was ousted in the second round.

In the men’s super 1,500 final which regrouped the top-six skaters overall, Kim won the gold while Blais-Dufour was fifth.

With his two victories, Kim snared the overall title while Blais-Dufour was fourth, only 11 points out of third spot held by Lee. Cournoyer was seventh and Fortin 11th.

In the women’s 2,000 metre relay final, South Korea took the gold in 2:55.068 with Italy second in 2:55.418 and Canada third in 2:55.789 with Marianne St-Gelais of St-Felicien, Que., Valérie Lambert of Sherbrooke, Que., and Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau of Montreal.

‘’We had some great relays near the end of the race which helped us stay in the medals’’ said St-Gelais a bronze medallist Saturday in the 500. ‘’We’re really happy with the result. We felt we were a contender for a medal. The Koreans got away early but we fought hard against the Italians but they had a very hot skater this weekend and she pulled away on the final lap to take the silver from us.’’

In the 1,000, St-Gelais was eliminated in the semis for seventh while Lambert and Mendes-Campeau were ousted in the quarters for 11th and 15th respectively. St-Gelais was also sixth in the 1,500 super final.

Ah-Reum Noh of South Korea won both races Sunday to take the overall title. St-Gelais was seventh overall, Mendes-Campeau ninth and Lambert 14th.

Canada was fourth in the men’s relay with South Korea taking the gold.

Canada ends the competition with four medals its best performance since a seven-medal intake at the 2005 junior worlds. Lambert and Fortin were the only returnees from last year’s squad that won two relay medals.

‘’We are super satisfied with the results,’’ said Canadian team leader Sébastien Cros. ‘’It was a young team and we felt heading in we could get some top-eight results so this is better than expected.’’