François-Louis Tremblay wins bronze at short track speed skating World Cup

François-Louis Tremblay of Montreal earned Canada’s first medal this season on the short track speed skating World Cup circuit on Saturday with a bronze in the men’s 500-metre race.

Jiajun Li of China, a three-time world champion at the distance, took the gold medal in 41.922 seconds. Overall world champion Hyun-Soo Ahn of South Korea was second in 41.933 while Tremblay, the defending world champion in the 500, followed in 42.111.

‘’These are guys that can be in an Olympic final and the race went as I expected,’’ said Tremblay about the final. ‘’I had a good start but two Chinese got ahead of me and controlled the race. So I needed a few attempts to get back into third spot. Considering we are also not in peak condition right now circumstances I’m pretty satisfied with my race.’’

Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., and Eric Bedard of Ste-Thecle, Que., were eliminated in the quarterfinals and placed ninth and 16th overall respectively.

In the women’s 500, Meng Wang of China notched her second gold in two days placing first in 44.249. Her compatriot Tianyu Fu was second in 44.388 and Evgenia Radanova of Bulgaria third in 44.611.

The three Canadian entries were eliminated in the semifinals. Anouk-Leblanc-Boucher of Montreal was sixth, Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, B.C., seventh and Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., eighth.

Canada also finished second in both relay semifinals to advance to the finals. In the men’s 5,000 relay, the Canadians were second to the U.S., with Bedard, Turcotte, Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Jonathan Guilmette of Montreal.

In the women’s 3,000, the Canadians were runners-up to South Korea with Leblanc-Boucher, Kraus, Tania Vicent of Vercheres, Que., and Amanda Overland of Kitchener, Ont.

Canada is icing its 12-member Olympic team for the Winter Games this February in Italy for the World Cup events. The team was selected at trials earlier this month in Saguenay, Que. The third and fourth World Cups in Europe this November are the Olympic qualifiers to determine the eight countries that compete at the Games. Also at those Word Cups, Canada will finalise who races the individual events.

Competition ends Sunday.