Canadian women take fourth place in relay at the World Junior Short Track Championship

Canadian women take fourth place in relay at the World Junior Short Track Championship

St. Jean is sixth in the Super 1,500 metres

MELBOURNE, Australia – On the last day of the 2012 World Junior Short Track Championship (event website) in Melbourne, Australia, the Canadian women’s relay team finished fourth and Quebec City’s Alexandre St. Jean was sixth in the Super 1,500 metres and 14th in the 1,000 metres.

St. Jean was the only Canadian to qualify for the Super 1,500-metre race, which included the top six skaters on points after the first three distances raced. “In the final for the Super 1,500, there were three and a half laps left and I was in a very good position,” said the 18-year-old, competing in his last world junior championship. “I was just starting to accelerate on the outside when a Chinese skater surged at the same time and we both fell.”

In his 1,000 metres quarter-final race, St. Jean also had trouble in the last three laps. “With three laps left, I panicked a bit. I was trying to pass and I collided with one of the Korean skaters. I won the race, but I saw in my coach’s expression that I would be disqualified.” St. Jean won his preliminary race and his heat to qualify for the quarter-finals.

“I’m a little disappointed with my final day,” added St. Jean. “I was ranked third coming into today’s race and I ended up in sixth.”

In the women’s relay final, the Canadian team knew their battle would be against the Russians for third place, as the South Koreans and Chinese would set a fast pace. “We were skating well and making good exchanges,” said 14-year-old Genève Bélanger of Montreal. “In the last exchange, we separated too much from the Russians. I tried my best but we finished fourth.”

South Korea won gold in a time of four minutes and 14.800 seconds, followed by China (4:17.711), Russia (4:23.275) and Canada (4:23.367). Bélanger, Phaneuf, Shmyr and Thibault represented Canada.

In the men’s 1,000 metres, Yoan Gauthier of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., finished in 25th place and Montreal’s David Goulet was 33rd. Gauthier was second in his preliminary round race, but the 17-year-old fell out of contention to fourth place in his qualifying heat for the quarter-finals. Goulet, 17, was also second in his first race, but he was eliminated after being penalized in his next heat.

In the women’s 1,000 metres, Léa Thibault from Laval, Que., was again the top Canadian in sixth place. Finishing in third place in their first heats, Courtney Shmyr from Langley, B.C., and Audrey Phaneuf from Boucherville, Que., did not qualify for the quarter-finals. Shmyr, 19, and 15-year-old Phaneuf took the 21st and 23rd overall positions, respectively.

Eighteen-year-old Thibault had her best results of the championship, winning her first race and then placing second in her quarter-final heat. In the semifinals, she finished third in a time of one minute and 38.315 seconds. Suk Hee Shim of South Korea set a fast pace from the beginning and finished first in a world junior record time of 1:30.266. Shim won the gold medal in another record time of 1:30.208.

MP3 audioBélanger (French), Gauthier (French), Goulet (French), Marando (English), St.Jean (French)

Junior skaters must have reached the age of 14, but not the age of 19 by July 1, 2011, as well as meeting ISU standard requirements for each distance. From this year’s team, St. Jean, Shmyr and 19 year-old Jean-Christophe Marando of Longueuil, Que., will not be eligible for next year’s World Junior Championship.