Day 1 at World Junior Long Track Championships

Day 1 at World Junior Long Track Championships in Japan

OBIHIRO, Japan – Canada’s national long track junior team placed two skaters among the top 10 in today’s four races at the Essent ISU World Junior Championships being held at the Meiji Hokkaido Tokachi Oval in Obihiro, Japan.

The first day of competition, which runs through until Sunday, saw the men’s and women’s first 500-metre race, the women’s 1,500 and men’s 3,000 metres.

Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que., won the first 500-metre race in 35.62 seconds. The 19-year world-record holder in the 500 metres edged Tsubasa Hasegawa of Japan by 0.01 seconds. The medallists will be determined by the cumulative points after the second 500-metre race on Saturday.

The top Canadian woman on the first day o competition was Calgary’s Kate Hanly. The 18-year-old, competing in her fourth world junior championship, was seventh in the 500 metres in a time of 40.06 seconds and was ninth in the 1,500 metres in a time of two minutes and 4.81 seconds. After two distances, Hanly is in sixth place for the all-round title with 81.663 points.

Heather McLean of Winnipeg was 15th (41.01) in the 500 metres and 30th (2:10.90) in the 1,500 metres. The 19-year-old is 20th overall with 84.643 points. Josie Spence, 18, was 32nd (41.94) in the 500 metres and 22nd (2:08.74) in the 1,500 metres. The Kamloops, B.C., native is ranked 21st with 84.853 points after two races. Eighteen-year-old Mèryem Labidi of Quebec City was 29th (41.80) in the 500 metres.

The other four Canadian men saw Lévis, Que., residents Daniel Dubreuil and François Déry finish day-one 24th and 26th, respectively, for the men’s all-round title after two races.

Dubreuil, 17, was 42nd (38.62) in the 500 metres and 22nd (4:06.37) in the 3,000 metres, and the older Déry brother, François, was 49th (39.21) in the 500 metres and 25th (4:08.05) in the 3,000 metres. Sixteen-year-old Alexandre Déry was 37th (38.40) in the 500 metres. Calgarian Stefan Dilger, 16, did not finish his 500-metre race.

The championship continues Saturday with the second 500-metre race, the 1,500 metres and the 5,000 metres for the men, and the 1,000- and 3,000-metre distances for the women. The last of competition will feature the men’s 1,000 metres, the women’s second 500-metre race and the team pursuit.