Canadian women's short track speed skating team dominates qualifying at ISU World Cup held in Dordrecht, Netherlands

DORDRECHT, Netherlands, February 12, 2016 – The Canadian women's team had a perfect day, Friday, in the qualification rounds that were held ahead of the last ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating stage of the season, slated for Saturday and Sunday in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Five of the six Canadian women on the team, i.e. Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, Valérie Maltais of La Baie, QC, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier from Montreal (Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie borough, QC), Audrey Phaneuf of Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, and Jamie MacDonald of Fort St. James, B.C., all qualified in style for the final rounds in their respective events, i.e. in the 500m, the 1500m and/or one of the two 1000m races scheduled, by winning all their heats in the elimination rounds. Kasandra Bradette of Saint-Félicien, QC, did the same in the 1000m (1) and also qualified in the 500m quarterfinals by finishing second in the heats.

“All the girls did really well. As for me, I'm satisfied with how my day went. I had some good races. The ice here is good, a little different, but we adjusted to it and got some good results,” said Marianne St-Gelais, who will be looking for more podium finishes after coming up with nine medals in 10 individual events so far this season on the World Cup circuit.”

In the women's relay, Harris-Gauthier, Maltais, MacDonald and Phaneuf qualified Canada for the semifinals by winning their qualification heat.

On the men's side, François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, Sasha Fathoullin of Calgary and Cédrik Blais of Châteauguay, QC, also qualified for the final rounds in their respectives events.

“I was expecting nothing less than directly qualifying for the final rounds,” said Cédrik Blais, who is taking part in the first-ever World Cup of his career. “I think I skated well from out front, and I'm happy about having reached my main goals.”

However, Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, will have to go through the repechage heats in the 1500m, Saturday morning, as will Patrick Duffy of Oakville, ON, in the 500m. Cournoyer and Duffy already have their ticket for the final rounds in the 1000m (2) and 500m events, respectively.

“My day started really poorly in th 1500m. I had a tough time with my neck, which I hurt in a fall last week. I had a lot of trouble skating with the pain,” explained Charle Cournoyer. “However, things went better after that in the 1000m, in a distance where my confidence level is very high.”

In the men's relay, Cournoyer, Fathoullin, Blais and François Hamelin earned a spot in the semifinals by finishing first in their elimination-round heat.

“We have a young team here this weekend and everyone skated well, including Cédrik Blais who is making his World Cup debut,” said Charle Cournoyer. “But even if Charles Hamelin and Samuel Girard aren't there, we skated quite well, and also with confidence.”

The repechage heats and final rounds in the first 1000m event and the 1500m, as well as the relay semifinals, will take place on Saturday.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m W
Marianne St-Gelais: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Jamie MacDonald: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Kasandra Bradette: second in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

500m M
François Hamelin: third in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday as being of the two fastest third place skaters
Patrick Duffy: third in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday morning

1000m (1) W
Kasandra Bradette: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Jamie MacDonald: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

1000m (1) M
Patrick Duffy: third in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Cédrik Blais: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

1000m (2) W
Valérie Maltais: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Audrey Phaneuf: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

1000m (2) H
Charle Cournoyer: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Sasha Fathoullin: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Cédrik Blais: second in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

1500m W
Marianne St-Gelais: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Valérie Maltais: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Audrey Phaneuf: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday

1500m M
François Hamelin: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Sasha Fathoullin: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Charle Cournoyer: third in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday morning

Relay W
Canada: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
(Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, Valérie Maltais, Jamie MacDonald, Audrey Phaneuf)

Relay M
Canada: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
(Charle Cournoyer, Sasha Fathoullin, Cédrik Blais, François Hamelin)

More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
 
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

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