Canadian men reclaim gold at short track team worlds

A dominant performance in the 500-metres propelled Canada to the gold medal in the men’s competition on Sunday at the short track speed skating world team championships while the Canadian women took the bronze.

It’s the fifth title in eight years for the Canadian men and the first since 2005 after finishing second to South Korea last year. The women earned a third straight bronze.

In men’s competition, Canada placed first with 43 points while South Korea was second at 33 and Italy third at 26.

In the team event, there are heats in the 500, and 1,000, with one entry per country, one 3,000 metre with two entries per country and a relay. The winner in each heat earns five points for his or her country, second place three points and third place one. Relay points are doubled.

In the 500-metres, Canada swept the four races for the second straight day with Jean-François Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., François-Louis Tremblay of Montreal, Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., and Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., prevailing in their respective heats.

‘’We knew we were in a battle with the South Koreans,’’ said Tremblay. ‘’We knew we had a big advantage in the 500 metres and we capitalized on that. So that put the Koreans up against the wall and they had to take a lot of risks in the 3,000 and they paid the price for that. We’ve been rivals with the Koreans for over 10 years and it’s still exciting every time we meet in an event like this.’’

Tremblay added a victory in his 1,000 heat and Hamelin put Canada in the driver’s seat with a big win in the 3,000. Jean was also third in the 1,000 and fifth in the 3,000, Hamelin third in the 1,000 while Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles was second in his 1,000. In the relay, Canada was second to South Korea with the Monette brothers, Tremblay and Hamelin.

In women’s competition, South Korea dominated with 56 points, China was second at 28 and the Canadians third at 23.

Amanda Overland of Montreal posted second place finishes in her 500 and 1,000 heats and third place in the 3,000. Anne Maltais of Quebec City was third in her 500 and 1,000 heats while Kalyna Roberge was second in her 1,000 and fourth in the 3,000. Annik Plamondon was third in her 500 and Nita Avrith of Montreal fourth in her 1,000. Avrith, Maltais, Overland and Roberge were third in the relay.

‘’We’re very happy with the medal,’’ said Overland. ‘’We raced very well over the entire weekend and it was a great experience. We’ll only get better.’’

Overland, who missed part of this season due to injuries and illness, was a real sparkplug for the Canadians.

‘’It’s been the toughest season of my career,’’ said Overland. ‘’I had no idea I would be able to put in this kind of performance. It’s unbelievable to me that I raced three 3,000’s in two days. My fitness level surprised me.

‘’I have to credit our team spirit. It’s the best I’ve ever seen.’’