François Hamelin wins bronze in the men's 500m at ISU World Cup short track stage held in Belarus

Minsk, Belarus, February 12, 2017 – François Hamelin earned his first medal of the season, a bronze in the men's 500m, Sunday, on the last day of the sixth and last ISU World Cup stage of the 2016-2017 short track speed skating season, held in Minsk, Belarus.
 
Canada therefore won one medal in Minsk, for a total of 32 this season.
 
In Sunday's 500m final, François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, finished behind two skaters from Kazakhstan, Denis Nikisha and Abzal Azhgaliyev.
 
It was François Hamelin's first medal this season and his first on the World Cup circuit since he earned gold and bronze in the two 500m events held in Nagoya, Japan, in December of 2015.
 
“I'm happy with how the weekend went. Today's 500m allowed me to make amends for my season, because I didn't have a great international season,” pointed out François Hamelin. “It also allowed me to redeem myself after Saturday's 1000m, where I made some bad decisions which resulted in a penalty; I was having a good race until then. Several good skaters weren't here this weekend, but I'm still happy with the result. It always makes you smile when you win a medal on the circuit after working hard.”
 
As he did on Saturday, Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, QC, qualified for the A final and finished in fourth place in the second 1000m event of the weekend. On Saturday, Bastille took sixth place in the A final of the 1500m.
 
Sunday's 1000m race was won by South Korea's Yong Jin Lim, who was followed by France's Thibaut Fauconnet and Nurbergen Zhumagaziyev of Kazakhstan.
 
“In the semifinals, I was well positioned and I was going back and forth between first and second place. Towards the middle of the race, another skater came into contact with me, which put an end to my race, but I made it to the final by being advanced,” explained Guillaume Bastille.
 
“In the final, I was looking to control the race from up front but after one lap, I found myself third. Once again, my race ended when another skater tried to overtake me on the inside and then fell, which resulted in me falling. I was able to brake and avoid going into the boards, and I started skating again, but I was about one lap behind. I'm happy with fourth place, but I would have liked to race under normal circumstances to see if I would have been able to win a medal.”
 
In the women's relay, Canada took fourth place, finishing behind South Korea by less than a tenth of a second. Russie won gold and Italy collected silver.

“It was crazy,” said Valérie Maltais de Saguenay, QC. “Once again, we were virtually racing with only three skaters because of Kim's (Boutin) injury. This time, we decided that we should skate in front in the race, contrary to our approach in our earlier races. Unfortunately, the ice wasn't great and we slipped and lost our balance a lot. If it hadn't been for that, we would have ended up on the podium.”

“We had the lead with six laps to go and our goal, considering Kim's condition, was to slow the race down and block,” added Maltais, who teamed up with Jamie Macdonald of Fort St. James, B.C., Kasandra Bradette of Saint-Félicien, and Boutin from Sherbrooke. QC. “But we're really happy with how things went. Each race, we came out and we were surprised by what we had been able to do. We were also able to apply our other goals, for instance to make more exchanges from the back to get used to the fact that we would be in trouble. And being only three skaters, we often found ourselves in trouble. The goal was to reach the final and we're happy with what we did.”

In final standings following this season's six World Cup stages, Canada finished third in the women's relay. Marianne St-Gelais finished first overall in the 500m while Kim Boutin was third in the 1500m, even though both skaters didn't take part in this weekend's individual events.
 
The participation of the skaters at this World Cup was made possible by the financial support of the provincial associations from British Columbia and Quebec. The FPVQ is holding a fundraising event regarding this initiative, which can be found at www.fpvq.org.

The Canadian team's next competition will be the World Championships, set to take place March 10-12 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
 
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m W
Kasandra Bradette: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 13)
Jamie Macdonald: penalty in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 20)

500m M
François Hamelin: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
Patrick Duffy: fall in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 19)

1000m (2) W
Valérie Maltais: 3rd in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 11)

1000m (2) M
Guillaume Bastille: 4th in the A Final (final ranking: 4)

Relay W
Canada: 4th in the A Final (final ranking : 4)
(Valérie Maltais, Kasandra Bradette, Kim Boutin, Jamie Macdonald)

Relay M
Canada: eliminated in the semifinals (final ranking: 8)
(Guillaume Bastille, François Hamelin, Patrick Duffy, Pascal Dion)
 
More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
 
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance and Samsung, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

- 30 -

For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC