Canada’s Anouk Leblanc-Boucher wins gold at world junior short track speed skating championships

Anouk Leblanc-Boucher of Montreal moved into a three-way tie for the overall lead with a gold medal performance in the women’s 500-metres on Saturday at the 28-country world junior short track speed skating championships.

Leblanc-Boucher, in her second appearance at the world juniors, clocked 45.689 seconds for the win. Katerina Novotna of the Czech Republic was second in 45.748, Yun-Mi Kang of South Korea third in 45.762 and Karyne Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., was fourth in 45.864.

“I took the lead early on and I never really saw any of the skaters,” said Leblanc-Boucher, 19, who sailed to the final placing first in each of her five heats. “But I could feel it was very close. I just held on. I’m pretty surprised to win but all my races went very well. I took each one as if it was my last.”

The final didn’t go as smoothly for Roberge.

“I was bumped at the start and I had a big gap to make up,” said the 17-year-old competing at her first junior worlds. “I simply never got an opportunity to pass anyone. The lanes were blocked.”

Emilie Nadeau-Benoit of Longueuil, Que., was eliminated in the heats for 20th.

With the win Leblanc-Boucher is tied for first overall at the halfway point of the competition at 21 points with Kang and Eun-Ju Jung of South Korea. Roberge is tied for sixth at eight points.

In the men’s 500, Ho-Suk Lee of South Korea, the defending overall champion, earned his second win clocking 42.542, just .06 off his world junior record set last year.

Mathieu Lefrançois-Gauvreau and Mathieu Giroux, both of Montreal, were both eliminated in the semifinals and placed sixth and seventh respectively. Malcolm Therrien of St-Romuald, Que., didn’t get past the quarterfinals for 15th.

Canada was eliminated in both relay semifinals. The women with Leblanc-Boucher, Nadeau-Benoit and Roberge were third in their heat. The men with Lefrançois-Gauvreau, Therrien and Giroux were fourth in their heat. The top-two in each semi advanced to Sunday’s final.

Competition ends Sunday.


Saturday’s leading results at the world junior short track speed skating championships in Beijing (all distances in metres):


Men


500

1. Ho-Suk Lee, South Korea, 42.542 seconds

2. Jon Eley, Britain, 42.770

3. Jumpei Yoshizawa, Japan, 42.924

4. Takahiro Fujimoto, Japan, 43.112.


Canadians


6. Mathieu Lefrançois-Gauvreau, Montreal

7. Mathieu Giroux, Montreal

15. Malcolm Therrien, St-Romuald, Que.



Overall (after two of four events)


1. Ho-Suk Lee, South Korea, 68 points

2. Jon Eley, Britain, 34

3. Ke-Deok Kwon, South Korea, 21

4. Jumpei Yoshizawa, Japan, 13

5. Takahiro Fujimoto, Japan, and Baoko Sui, China, 8

7. Paul Hermann, Germany, 5

8. Liang Cui, China, 3.


Canadians


11. Gauvreau-Lefrançois

13. Therrien

16. Giroux


2,000 relay semifinal (top-two in each heat advance to final)


Heat

1. Italy, 2:48438

2. France, 2:49.189

3. Hungary, 2:50.700

4. U.S., 3:00.69.


Heat 2


1. South Korea, 2:48.435

2. China, 2:48.900

3. Japan, 2:49.338

4. Canada (Lefrançois-Gauvreau; Giroux, Therrien), 2:50.271.


Women


500

1. Anouk Leblanc-Boucher, Montreal, 45.689

2. Katerina Novotna, Czech Republic, 45.748

3. Yun-Mi Kang, South Korea, 45.762

4. Kalyna Roberge, Ste-Étienne-de-Lauzon, 45.864.


Other Canadian


20. Émilie Nadeau-Benoit, Longueuil, Que.



Overall (after two of four events)

1. (tie) Yun-Mi Kang, South Korea, Anouk Leblanc-Boucher, Montreal, and Eun-Ju Jung, South Korea, 34

4. Katerina Novotna, Czech Republic, 21

5. Linlin Su, China, 13

6. (tie) Kalyna Roberge, Ste-Étienne-de-Lauzon, and Tatiana Borodulina, Russia, 8

8. Hio-Jung Kim, South Korea, 5.



Other Canadian


16. Nadeau-Benoit.



2,000 relay semifinal (top-two in each heat advance to final):


Heat 1


1. China, 3:04.083

2. Germany, 3:05.774

U.S., disqualified

Italy, did not start.


Heat 2


1. South Korea, 2:55.744

2. Russia, 2:57.319

3. Canada (Leblanc-Boucher; Roberge; Nadeau-Benoit), 2:57.893

4. Japan: 3:03.436.