Canada wins three medals at short track speed skating World Cup

Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Francois-Louis Tremblay of Montreal finished 1-2 in the men’s 500 final and Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., added a bronze in the men’s 1,500 at the World Cup final in short track speed skating.

Finalists in the men’s 500 neared world record times as Hamelin took the gold in 41.360 seconds with Tremblay second in 41.439 and Seung-Hoon Lee of South Korea third in 41.442. Jean-Francois Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., was also in the final and placed fourth in 41.683.

“I knew it was going to be a fast race and that’s my strength,” said Hamelin. “My top speed is very fast and I know I can hold it until the finish. It sets a fast pace which is what I like.”

Tremblay wasn’t surprised to see three Canadians in the final.

“We always know there’s a strong chance Charles and I will be in a 500 final,” said Tremblay. “I decided to stay behind Charles at the beginning and see how I could do. It was a different approach for me and I’m pretty pleased with the final result. It’s a good test for the worlds (in March.).”

In the men’s 1,500, Ho-Suk Lee led South Korea to a 1-2 finish clocking 2:16.118 with Kyung-Taek Sung second in 2:16.448 and Jean third in 2:16.497. Marc-Andre Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles was disqualified.

“The Koreans tried to control the race from the start and I battled hard to break their dominance,” said Jean. “I felt I did a good job to prevent them from sweeping the medals and that made for an exciting race with a lot of passing. I just wished I could have finished higher. The legs were there today.”

In women’s competition, Jessica Gregg of Edmonton took fourth spot in the women’s 500 in 45.994. Meng Wang led China to a 1-2 finish in 44.158.

Marianne St-Gelais of St-Felicien, Que., in her World Cup debut, won the B final for fifth overall while Anne Maltais of Quebec City was third in the race for seventh.

In the women’s 1,500, Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., was fourth in 2:23.006.Eun-Ju Junk led a South Korean medal sweep in 2:22.298.

In the B final, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa was fourth for 10th overall while Nita Avrith of Montreal was disqualified for 12th.

Canada advanced to both the men’s and women’s relay finals. For the men Canada won its semifinal heat with Hamelin, Jean, Tremblay and Jean-Francois Monette. The women were second in their semi heat with Gregg, Maltais, Roberge and St-Gelais.

Competition ends Sunday.