Clara Hughes’s Second Victory; Jordan Belchos Wins the 10 000m event

Tuesday at the Canadian Selections for the Long Track Speed Skating Fall World Cups, Clara Hughes (Glen Sutton, QC) earned a second victory in Richmond, B.C., winning the 5000m event. Second in the World in the distance at last year’s World Championships, Hughes won today’s event in a time of 7:11.31, beating out Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) who came in for second at 7:19.32, and Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB, 7:24.63) who skated to third place.

In the 10 000m men’s event, Jordan Belchos (Toronto, ON) came in for the top step on the podium at 13:55.07; Mathieu Giroux (Montréal, QC) grabbed second place in 14:00.04, while Keith Sulzer (Calgary, AB) completed the podium in a time of 14:14.72.

“My race was ok, and I did do some good things that I wasn’t able to do Monday (during the 3000m event),” explained Hughes. “On the other hand, I couldn’t replicate what I did well yesterday. My time was reasonable, without being excellent. Now I have to put together everything that worked well, so I still have some work to do.”

Olympic Champion of the 5000m event, Clara Hughes is preparing for her third Olympic Winter Games in just over one hundred days. She knows intimately what she needs to do in order to have the race of her life at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

“I’m in fantastic shape physically, and when I’m able to combine that with technique, it will be amazing, but for the moment I’m not quite there yet!” laughed Hughes. “It does take patience, and you can’t rush things.” she concluded.

Prequalified for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Hughes needs to finish among the top six in the 5000m event at the upcoming World Cup in Hamar, in order to finalize her place on Team Canada.

An Impressive First for Belchos

Finishing first in the 10 000m event gave Jordan Belchos his first victory at a national selection competition. Skating at the same time as Mathieu Giroux, the 20 year-old athlete was satisfied with his performance. “We were close throughout the race, but I had the lead. I knew that Mathieu would speed up towards the end, so I had to create a gap – I expected the race to go that way.” Belchos has already qualified for the 5000m event at the World Cups, and has just qualified for the 10 000m event.

“I like the 10 000m, because you can establish a rhythm and try to hang on; that’s the event I prefer.”

Belchos is a former in-line skater, where he participated in two World Championships. It was only in February 2006 that he began speed skating, in part thanks to the Own the Podium program.