Canadian disqualified in wild 1,500-metre final at short track worlds

National team rookie Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., felt he was unfairly disqualified in a wild men’s 1,500-metre final on Friday to open the world championships in short track speed skating.

When the ice chips settled Olympic champion Apolo Anton Ohno of the U.S., in his first international competition since the Turin Games, emerged with the gold medal in 2:33.793. Nicola Rodigari of Italy was second in 2:33.841 and Hyun-Soo Ahn of South Korea who fell in the race, was third almost a minute behind. Jordan Malone of the U.S., who also fell, was awarded fourth spot while Jean and Kyung-Taek Song of South Korea were disqualified.

Jean, who crossed the finish line third, was disqualified for an incident at the halfway point with Ahn. But Jean said he stepped on a block and accidentally slipped into the South Korean. Song meanwhile crossed the finish line first but was disqualified as well for blocking a passing attempt by Ohno near the end of the race.

‘’I was very surprised find out after the race I had been disqualified,’’ said Jean. ‘’I made an error by hitting the blocks but I didn’t cause Ahn’s fall in a passing attempt. I just lost my balance. It’s a hard decision to understand but I have to live with it.

‘’It’s too bad because up to that point I was racing better and better in each round and gaining confidence.’’

François-Louis Tremblay of Montreal was in a tough semifinal which included Ahn and Ohno and placed third in his heat for seventh overall. Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., was disqualified in his opening heat when he took down two skaters in a passing attempt.

South Korea swept the medals in the women’s 1,500 final with Eun-Ju Jung first, Sun-Yu Jin second and Chun-sa Byun third.

In the semifinal, Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., got trapped behind Jung and Yang Zhou of China to place third in her heat for seventh overall. Amanda Overland of Montreal, on the comeback from two injuries, was fifth in her semi heat for 15th place. Anne Maltais of Quebec City was eliminated in the opening round.

In the women’s 3,000-metre relay semifinal, Canada qualified for the final finishing second in its heat behind South Korea. The Canadian skaters were Overland, Roberge, Maltais and Nita Avrith of Montreal.

Competition continues through to Sunday.