Five Canadian skaters have a perfect day in qualifying at World Cup in Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany, February 5, 2016 – Charles and François Hamelin, Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais and Namasthée Harris-Gauthier all won every one of their races, Friday, to earn spots in the final rounds of their respective events slated over the weekend at the fifth stage of the World Cup season, held until Sunday in Dresden, Germany.

On the men's side, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, finished first in each of the four heats he skated in and he qualified for Saturday's 1000m semifinals, as well as for Sunday's 500m quarterfinals.

“The day went very well, and in the 500m I came up with a pretty fast time, which will allow me to start from the first spot on the starting line on Sunday,” explained Charles Hamelin. “I'm really looking forward to the weekend, I feel great physically and I can't wait to see what I'll be able to do.”

François Hamelin, who is taking part in both 1500m events this weekend, also dominated his heats in qualifying rounds on Friday to earn a berth in the semifinals of both events. Hamelin won his first 1500m career medal, a bronze, at the Toronto World Cup last November.

“I was able to remain calm all day and I'm keeping up the good work I've done since the season started,” said François Hamelin. “Things are going well and I feel in control, although I'm a litle bit more tired than usual. We'll be looking to build on today's performances on Saturday and Sunday.”

Sasha Fathoullin, a 20-year-old skater from Calgary who is taking part in his third-ever World Cup, also qualified for the 1000m quarterfinals by winning both his qualification races, as well as for the 1500m (2) semifinals after taking second place in the heats.

“I'm definitely happy that I qualified, and most of all with the way I qualified – with a relaxed attitude,” said Fathoullin. “There are still things I want to work on, but it's always nice to know that you can sleep in the next day and don't have to worry about repechage, and just focus on recovering in time for the next race.”

Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, qualified for the 1000m quarterfinals while Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, will skate in the 1500m (1) semifinals. The two skaters, however, will have to go through repechage heats in the 500m event, Sunday, after respectively finishing third and fourth in the heats.

As for William Preudhomme of Toronto, ON, he was involved in a fall in the 1500m (1) with Hungarian skater Viktor Knoch, and he subsequently experienced headaches, forcing him give up on skating in the 1500m (2). Preudhomme is slated to take part in the 1500m (1) repechage heats on Saturday morning, but a decision will be taken before the competition starts.

“I have a little headache at the present time, but we don't know if it's a concussion or not. We'll see how I feel tomorrow,” he said.

Four almost-perfect Canadian women
On the women's side, Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais and Namasthée Harris-Gauthier also had a perfect day, as they won all of their races on Friday and qualified for the final rounds.

St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, who has won seven medals in eight individual races in four World Cup stages so far this sason, seems poised to get back on the podium this weekend in Dresden. On Friday, she won all three of her qualification races to earn a spot in the quarterfinals of Saturday's 1000m and Sunday's 500m.

Valérie Maltais of La Baie, QC, also came out on top in her two races, qualifying for Saturday's 1000m quaterfinals and Sunday's 1500m (2) semifinals.

Skating at her fifth career World Cup, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier of Montreal (Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie borough), QC, won her heats in both 1500m events and she will be taking part in both semifinals in this distance, Saturday and Sunday.

“I'm happy I don't have to go through repechage heats for once,” said Harris-Gauthier. “But most of all, I'm happy I raced well. Experience is starting to kick in: my decision-taking was better, I was more patient and it paid off.”

Kasandra Bradette of Saint-Félicien, QC, qualified for the 1500m (1) semifinals and the 500m quarterfinals, while Audrey Phaneuf of Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, earned a spot in the 500m quarterfinals, but will have to go through the repechage heats in the 1500m (1).

Jamie MacDonald of Fort St. James, B.C., was unable to directly access the finals rounds in the 1000m and 1500m (2) events, and will therefore skate in the repechage heats on Saturday and Sunday.

In the relay quarterfinals, the Canadian women's team finished ahead of South Korea, which leads the World Cup overall standings, and qualified for Saturday's semifinals.

In the men's relay, Canada also won its quarterfinal heat to go ahead to the following round, finishing ahead of Russia and Hungary. China, which leads World Cup standings, was eliminated in its quarterfinal heat.

On Saturday, the final rounds in the 1000m and 1500m (1) events are scheduled, as well as the relay semifinals.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m W
Marianne St-Gelais: 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
Audrey Phaneuf: second in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

500m M
Charles Hamelin: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday
Charle Cournoyer: third in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday morning
Samuel Girard: fourth in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday morning

1000m W
Marianne St-Gelais: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Valérie Maltais: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Jamie MacDonald: fourth in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday morning

1000m M
Charles Hamelin: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Charles Cournoyer: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday
Sasha Fathoullin: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

1500m (1) W
Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Kasandra Bradette: second in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Audrey Phaneuf: fifth in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday morning

1500m (1) M
François Hamelin: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
Samuel Girard: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
William Preudhomme: sixth in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday morning

1500m (2) W
Valérie Maltais: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday
Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday
Jamie MacDonald: third in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday morning

1500m (2) M
François Hamelin: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday
Sasha Fathoullin: second in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday
William Preudhomme: did not take part in the heats and eliminated

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

Relay M
Canada: first in the quarterfinals and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
(François Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer, Sasha Fathoullin)

More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
    
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