Canada wins bronze in men’s relay at short track speed skating World Cup

Canada won the bronze medal in a heated and fast-paced men’s 5,000-metre relay final on Sunday to conclude the second stop on the short track speed skating World Cup circuit.

South Korea took the gold medal clocking six minutes and 45.627 seconds with the U.S., second in 6:46.668 and the Canadians, silver medallists last weekend, third in 6:46.761. Skating for Canada was Jean-Francois Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., Jonathan Guilmette of Montreal, Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que.

“We made some mistakes and some bad exchanges cost us,” said Canadian national team coach Guy Thibault of Le Gardeur, Que. “It was very close. We’re still fine-tuning the relay, we have guys who haven’t skated together all that much but we’re confident that as they gain more and more experience and polish their skills it should get interesting. We’re certainly better than what we’ve showed so far.”

It was a great weekend for South Korean world champion Hyun-Soo Ahn. In addition to the relay win he swept gold in all four individual races including Sunday’s 1,000 and 3,000 metres.

Turcotte earned a third fourth place finish this weekend in the 3,000 and was eliminated in the 1,000 semifinal for fifth. Steve Robillard of Montreal and Hamelin were 10th and 11th in the 1,000 after being eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Tania Vicent of Montreal, third in the 500 Saturday, reached the women’s 3,000 final and was fifth as Eun-Kyung Choi led South Korea to a clean medal sweep. In the 1,000, Choi also won gold while Amanda Overland of Cambridge, Ont., and Anouk Leblanc-Boucher of Montreal were eliminated in the semis for sixth and seventh respectively. Vicent was 17th.

Canada ends the first two World Cup stops with five medals - two silver and three bronze. Several Canadians are coming back from injuries and this weekend Amélie Goulet-Nadon of Laval, Que., a triple World Cup champion two seasons ago missed the competition due a groin injury.

“It’s hard to say that we’re totally satisfied with our performances so far,” said Thibault. “But with all the injuries we’re simply not 100 percent. It’s going to do us a lot of good to get home, train some more and then have some World Cups in our back yard.”

The third stop on the World Cup is November 26-28 at Madison, Wisconsin and the fourth stop December 3-5 at Saguenay, Que.