Good start for Charle Cournoyer in his return to short track World Cup action in Shanghai

Charle Cournoyer had a good start at his first ISU short track speed skating World Cup of the season, Friday in Shanghai, as he qualified for the quarterfinals in the two 500m events.

After missing the Salt Lake City and Montreal World Cup events, in November, because he was recuperating from an operation to both shoulders and from a broken right foot, Cournoyer, of Boucherville in Quebec, reached the quarterfinal stage for both 500m events to be held this weekend – one Saturday and the other on Sunday.

“I've been training for only four weeks, so I wasn't too sure what to expect in terms of on-ice performance”, said Cournoyer, 23, who won a bronze medal in the 500m event at the Sochi Olympic Games. «Obviously, I don't have the same legs I had last year, but I felt comfortable out there. The important thing was to move on to the next rounds and that went well.”

Veterans Charles Hamelin and Marianne St-Gelais, who combined to take four of Canada's five individual medals so far this World Cup season, also qualified for each of their two events.

Hamelin, who picked up a silver medal in the 1500m at the Salt Lake City World Cup, reached the semi-finals in that distance, to take place Saturday, as well as the quarterfinals for the men's 1000m, set for Sunday. The Sainte-Julie athlete finished first of his heat in both of Friday's races.

“Like every Friday at a World Cup, it was a long day. But I was able to manage my energy all day long”, said Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Quebec. “I'm on pace to get some good results over the weekend.”

St-Gelais qualified for the quarterfinals in the women's 1000m, Sunday, and the weekend's first 500m, to come Saturday. The skater from Saint-Félicien, Quebec, took gold at the 1000m event in November at Salt Lake City, as well as medals in the 500m in each of the two World Cup weekends so far – silver in Montreal and bronze in Utah.

“I really pushed in the 1000m to see how well I could do even if I don't have as much legs as I did in Montreal and Salt Lake”, said St-Gelais, who also finished first of her wave in her races. “I'm satisfied with what I was able to come up with.”

Patrick Duffy, of Oakville, Ontario, Kim Boutin, of Sherbrooke, Quebec, and Kasandra Bradette, of Saint-Félicien, Québec, all earned berths for two events over the weekend.

Duffy advanced tpo the men's 1500m semi-finals and qualified for the quarterfinals of the second 500m event. Boutin will skate in the quarterfinals of the first women's 500m and the 1000m, while Bradette will take part in the 1500m semifinals, Saturday, in addition to Sunday's second 500m race.

Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boileau, Quebec, who is in first World Cup season, will join Hamelin in the men's 1000m quarterfinals.

Audrey Phaneuf of Boucherville, Quebec, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, of Montreal, and William Preudhomme, of Toronto, who are all taking part in their first career World Cup, will need to go through the repechage heats to go on this weekend. Phaneuf will do so in both women's 500m, Harris Gauthier in the women's 1000m and Preudhomme, in the second men's 500m.

“I'm really happy with my first day at a World Cup”, said Phaneuf. “My results weren't great, but I'm happy with how I skated. I came close to qualifying directly in both my events, so I'll be looking to skate just as well in the rep heats.”

“I was expecting better results”, admitted Harris-Gauthier. “I was nervous, so it's normal that I wasn't able to give my best skate. But I'm learning, I'm picking up experience, so it's positive.”

Joanie Gervais of Saguenay, Quebec, will also go through the repechage heats, in the women's 1500m and second 500m. As will Girard in the men's 1500m and veteran skater François Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie in Quebec, in the men's 1000m. Hamelin was taking part in his first World Cup of the season.

Both Canadian relay teams qualified for the semifinals, to be held Saturday. The women's team, comprised of Harris-Gauthier, Bradette, Phaneuf and Boutin, finished first of their heat, Friday, while the men's four – the Hamelin brothers, Duffy and Girard, finished second of their wave.

Saturday events will also include the men's and women's first 500m events and the 1500m races. The other 500m events and the 1000m races will follow Sunday, as well as both relay finals.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
500m (1) M
-Charle Cournoyer: 2nd in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Saturday
-François Hamelin: penalty in the prelims and eliminated
-William Preudhomme: penalty in the heats and eliminated
 
500m (2) M
-Charle Cournoyer: 2nd in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
-Patrick Duffy: 2nd in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
-William Preudhomme: 4th in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday
 
1000m M
-Charles Hamelin: 1st in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
-Samuel Girard: 2nd in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
-François Hamelin: 5th in the prelims and will take part in the repechage Sunday
 
1500m M
-Charles Hamelin: 1st in the heats and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday
-Patrick Duffy: 5th in the heats but has been advanced and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday
-Samuel Girard: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday
 
Men's relay
2nd in the heats and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday (François Hamelin, Charles Hamelin, Patrick Duffy and Samuel Girard)
 
500m (1) W
-Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Saturday
-Kim Boutin: 2nd in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Saturday
-Audrey Phaneuf: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday
 
500m (2) W
-Kasandra Bradette: 1st in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
-Joanie Gervais: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday
-Audrey Phaneuf: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday
 
1000m W
-Marianne St-Gelais: 1st in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
-Kim Boutin: 2nd in the heats and qualified for the quarterfinals Sunday
-Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: 3rd in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday
 
1500m W
-Kasandra Bradette: 3rd in the heats and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday
-Joanie Gervais: 4th in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday
-Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: penalty in the heats and eliminated
 
Women's relay
1st in the heats and qualified for the semi-finals Saturday (Kasandra Bradette, Audrey Phaneuf, Kim Boutin and Namasthée Harris-Gauthier)

More information, including the complete schedule, can be found through 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 13,000 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 sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
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Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
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