Canadian short trackers get close to the podium at Winter Universiade

Canadians Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) and Marie-Andree Mendes-Campeau (Montreal, QC) came close to winning medals, winning fourth and fifth places in today’s 3000m event at the University Games in China.

“I’m not sure what to think. I’m not that disappointed, but it’s happened to me twice like that. In the 1500 and the 3000, I got kicked in the blade,” said Bastille about his final 3000m race. “I was feeling really great today. With three or four laps to go I was sitting in third, I was going for the medal when I got hit. I got back in the race, but when I drove the line, I was out by three-hundredths.”

The final 3000m ended with a podium sweep for Korea. Lee Seung Hoon was first over the line in 5:25.608 followed by Kim Seoung Il in 5:25.775 and Yun Tae Sik in 5:26.187. Bastille’s time was 5:26.212, just .25 seconds behind the bronze medalist.

“It’s part of short track because you never know what’s going to happen, but I think it’s pretty good to get fourth at the 3000. I was surprised because it’s been two or three years since I last raced this distance. We’re getting closer and closer to a medal, and I think we stand a pretty good chance at the relays,” added Bastille.

In the rest of the men’s competition Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, QC) ranked 13th overall after making it through to the semifinals, where he crossed the line in seventh. Tyler Derraugh (Winnipeg, MB) ranked 28th overall after finishing fifth in his heat. Liam McFarlane (Medicine Hat, AB) was disqualified in his first heat and did not advance.

“We don’t do that race in Canada anymore, so with that in mind, I thought it was a really good skate,” said National Team Coach Stephen Gough. For Bastille’s race he commented; “It’s disappointing that he wasn’t able to slip in there for a medal, but that juts seems to be how it’s going for us at this competition.”

In the relay semifinals Bastille helped Canada win their race and qualify for the finals. They had China, Ukraine and Great Britian in their race and both Canada and China advanced. Canada’s team included Bastille, McFarlane, Richard Shoebridge (Cambridge, ON) and Derraugh.

The women’s relay team qualified in their semifinal competition yesterday, so both Canadian teams will compete in the finals tomorrow (Monday).

In the ladies 3000m Mendes-Campeau was fifth after making it to the semifinals. All nine of the competitors in the first semifinal were disqualified for negative competition, including Canadians Annik Plamondon (Longueuil, QC) and Valerie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC). The top four skaters in Mendes-Campeau’s semifinal race all advanced, leaving Korea’s Chio Jung and Kim Hye Kyung to win gold and bronze and Chinese veteran Liu Qiuhong finished second for silver.

Nita Avrith advanced to the semifinals, racing in Mendes-Campeaus same heat to finish in 7th place with a time of 5:21.525. Plamondon and Lambert finished 13th and 16th overall.

In long track speed skating, only one Canadian was racing, Philippe Riopel (Lachenaie, QC). He skated the 1500m in 1:51.35 and finished ninth, his best result in this competition so far. His next race is on Tuesday, when he’ll skate the 1000m, his best distance and for which he holds the Canadian junior record.

The top three results in the men’s long track distance went to Mo Tae Bum, who won gold in 1:48.25, followed by Konrad Niedzwiedzki, from Poland, in 1:48.35 and Alexey Esin, of Russia, in 1:50.33.
Results are updated on the Universiade web site at http://en.harbin2009.org/