Canadians head to finals at short track speed skating team worlds

Canada advanced to the finals in both men’s and women’s competition on Saturday at the short track speed skating world team championships.

In men’s competition, Canada qualified directly to the final by placing first in its bracket in the morning preliminaries with 54 points. Italy was second at 30, Germany third at 26 and Ukraine fourth at 9. In the other bracket South Korea qualified directly while Italy and the U.S., qualified for the final four through the repechage.

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.

François-Louis Tremblay of Montreal, and Jean-François Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., won their 500 and 1,000 metre heats while Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., prevailed in his 500 and 3,000 heats.

Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., completed the Canadian sweep in the 500 races and was also third in the 1,000. Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles won his 1,000 and was third in the 3,000. The Monette brothers, Hamelin and Tremblay combined forces to win the relay.

‘’The guys really controlled their races in the 500 and built a big lead,’’ said Yves Hamelin, Speed Skating Canada’s short track program director. ‘’They stayed patient the rest of the way and did what they needed to do in the other events.’’

In women’s competition, China and South Korea advanced directly to the final by winning their respective brackets in the preliminaries. Canada was second to China in the prelims then won the repechage with 38 points while the U.S., earned 33.

In the repechage, Amanda Overland of Montreal posted victories in her 1,000 heat and the 3,000 as well as helping Canada to victory in the relay with Nita Avrith of Montreal, Anne Maltais of Quebec City and Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que.

‘’I was nervous before the 3,000 in the repechage,’’ said Overland. ‘’We don’t do many 3,000’s anymore and I was dreading the pain and racing for 27 laps against a strong field. In the end I skated great and made all the right moves.’’

Maltais and Roberge also won their 500 heats.

Last year, South Korea took the gold in both the men’s and women’s competition while the Canadian men were second and the women third.

The finals are on Sunday.