Gold, world record for Canada at short track speed skating World Cup

Jonathan Guilmette of Montreal won the gold medal and Jean-François Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., added silver after breaking the world record in the semifinal in the men’s 500-metre event Saturday at a World Cup short track speed skating competition.

In the men’s 500 final, Guilmette clocked 42.000 for the gold. Monette, last year’s 500 World Cup champion, followed in 42.205 and Ye Li of China took third in 55.074.

“I wasn’t expecting to win this early in the season,’’ said Guilmette, the Olympic silver medalist in the event at the 2002 Games. “We hadn’t trained at these high speeds in practice. But I had the best starting position in the final and the other skaters had some trouble early on. I was able to save my energy for the last two laps.’’

In the semifinal, Monette broke the world record clocking 41.184 seconds to eclipse the previous mark of 41.289 set by Jeff Scholten of Fredericton at the Canadian championships here this past March. In that same heat, Guilmette was second to Monette also going under Scholten’s standard in 41.217.

“The ice here holds up well and you never get the impression you’re actually going that fast,” said Monette, who holds the 1,000-metre world mark set here last season. “I never thought about the world record. My strength is my start and I’m always able to battle for the lead but I feel my top speed isn’t totally there yet.”

Scholten was eliminated in the semifinal and finished sixth overall.

In the women’s 500, Meng Wang led China to a 1-2 finish clocking 44.753 for her second medal of the competition with Mile Zhu second at 44.761. Goulet-Nadon, a triple World Cup champion last year, followed in 44.835 to edge world record holder Evgenia Radanova of Bulgaria fourth in 44.927.

“I felt lucky just to be in the final because I had such a tough field in my semifinal,” said Goulet-Nadon, 20, who suffered a knee injury last month. “I didn’t feel fully prepared for this meet. I wasn’t totally comfortable with my top speed and my starts. So this performance tonight is beyond my expectations.”

Tania Vicent of Montreal and Amanda Overland of Kitchener, Ont., were eliminated in the quarterfinals for ninth and 13th respectively.

Canada also qualified for both the men’s and women’s relay finals. Competition ends Sunday.