Charles Hamelin wins bronze medal at short track speed skating World Cup

Charles Hamelin, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
KOBE, Japan – Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., overcame a week-long battle with the flu and soft ice conditions to win the bronze medal in the men’s 1,000-metres on Saturday at the second stop on the short track speed skating World Cup circuit

Si-Bak Sun led South Korea to a 1-2 finish clocking 1:31.395 with Yoon-Gy Kwak second in 1:31.441. Hamelin, third in last week’s 1,500, followed for the bronze in 1:31.481 and François-Louis Tremblay of Montreal took fourth spot in 1:31.827.

‘’The ice here is slow and I didn’t feel very comfortable,’’ said Hamelin, who collected his second individual medal this season. ‘’I had trouble executing what I wanted to do. I was also sick all week and that really wore me out. So all things considered my result is pretty good.’’

Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., was eliminated in the quarterfinals and ranked 16th overall.

The Koreans swept the medals in the men’s 1,500 with world champion Hyun-Soo Ahn taking the gold in 2:23.225. Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., was in the final but was disqualified in a passing attempt. Monette actually crossed the finish line fourth but was relegated to seventh with the DQ.

Michael Gilday of Yellowknife was second in the B final for ninth overall while Steve Robillard of Montreal was eliminated in the semis for 16th place.

Seung-Hi Park of South Korea took the gold in the women’s 1,000 just ahead of China’s Meng Wang. Jessica Gregg of Edmonton was third in the B final for seventh while Anne Maltais of Quebec City was 11th. Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., withdrew in the quarterfinal due to back spasms.

It was Gregg’s first World Cup race in the 1,000. ‘’I’m very pleased, I didn’t know what to expect in my first 1,000 at this level,’’ said Gregg, a World Cup bronze medallist last season in the 500. ‘’It’s a very good start to the season for me. I’m hoping I’ll get more chances to race the 1,000.’’

South Korea completed a golden day with a sweep in the women’s 1,500. Sun-Yu Jin was the winner in 2:26.356. Amanda Overland of Montreal was eliminated in the semis for 17th overall while Andrea Do-Duc of Montreal was eliminated the repechage. Tania Vicent of Montreal withdrew from the repechage due to illness.

Almost all the Canadian team members have been stricken with the flu bug on this Asian trip.

‘’The health problems affected our preparation,’’ said Canadian national team coach Derrick Campbell. ‘’The training quality wasn’t as high and the confidence may have been a bit lower. And going into the races today, some skaters still had some lingering effects.’’

Canada advanced to the men’s 5,000-metre relay final finishing second in its heat. The Canadian racers were Monette, Hamelin, Tremblay and Gilday. The Canadian women were third in their 3,000-metre relay heat and advance to the B final. Overland, Do-Duc, Gregg and Maltais raced for the Canadians.

Competition ends Sunday.