Guillaume Bastille is the top Canadian on Saturday at the ISU World Cup short track stage in Belarus

Minsk, Belarus, February 11, 2017 – Guillaume Bastille came up with Canada's best result, Saturday, at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating stage held until Sunday in Minsk, Belarus, as he finished sixth in the 1500m final.
 
Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, QC, the only Canadian skater to take part in the A final of an event on Saturday, therefore qualified for the first time in the A final of a World Cup event since the first stage of the 2014-2015 season held in Salt Lake City. The 31-year-old athlete did not compete, last season, after undergoing shoulder surgery.
 
“I'm relatively satisfied with how my day went,” said Guillaume Bastille. “I had a very good race in the semifinals to earn a spot in the A final, but the final didn't go as well as I would have hoped for. I made a tactical mistake towards the middle of the race that cost me a lot. After that, I tried to keep my calm and looked to take advantage of my opponents' mistakes, but there was relatively little contact. At the end, I tried overtaking to move into fourth place, but it was tight and I made contact with the third-place skater, pushing me back to last place during the last lap.”
 
Jamie Macdonald of Fort St. James, B.C., was the top Canadian on the women's side as she won the 1500m B final to take eighth place overall.

“My semifinal race was tough, with all the top skaters being in my heat,” explained Jamie Macdonald. “I think I had a good strategy as I went to the front for a relatively long time. But I lost too much energy on my pass and I went a bit too fast. Two girls caught up with me and overtook me. It was a pretty fast race and I think I didn't manage my energy output very well. In the B final, I waited a good amount of time and learned from the mistake I made in the semifinals – I went to the front and controlled my pace, and ended up winning!”
 
Penalties were costly to the Canadian team, as three of Canada's seven representatives in action on Saturday were eliminated in that fashion.
 
Patrick Duffy of Oakville, ON, who trains in Montreal, and François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, were penalized respectively in the semifinal and quarterfinal rounds of the first of two 1000m events slated this weekend, while Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, QC, was eliminated in the 1500m semifinals after she fell and was penalized.
 
For the second day in a row, the Canadian women's relay achieved a remarkable feat by qualifiying for the relay final event though Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, QC, only made one exchange to ensure that Canada had the required minimum of four skaters. Boutin suffered a hip injury during the week, but the Canadian women still managed to finish second in their heat on Saturday, behind Russia and ahead of Japan, to earn a spot in Sunday's A final.
 
“We got in a little bit of trouble in the last few exchanges. There was a very big gap but Valérie and I had a pretty good exchange and we were able to close down the gap and get the Japanese right at the line,” explained Jamie Macdonald, as Canada finished ahead of Japan by eight thousandths of a second.

“With Kim's situation, we really all had to work hard for this one. For tomorrow, as long as we maintain that energy level well at the beginning of the race, not fight too much and stay relaxed, we should be OK,” added Macdonald, who will also be skating in the 500m repechage heats on Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, on the men's side, the rib and back pain Pascal Dion of Montreal, QC has felt since he fell on Friday forced him to miss Saturday's races, leading to Canada's forfeit from the men's relay.

Sunday's schedule will feature the repechage heats and final rounds in the second 1000m event and the 500m, as well as the relay finals.

The participation of the skaters at this World Cup has been 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.
 
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

1000m (1) W
Kasandra Bradette: 3rd in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 12)

1000m (1) M
Patrick Duffy: penalty in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 12)
François Hamelin: penalty in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 17)

1500m W
Jamie Macdonald: first in the B Final (final ranking: 8)
Valérie Maltais: penalty in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 19)

1500m M
Guillaume Bastille: sixième dans la finale A (final ranking: 6)
Pascal Dion: did not take part in the semifinals (final ranking: 22)

Relay W
Canada: 2nd in the semifinals and will take part in the A Final Sunday
(Valérie Maltais, Kasandra Bradette, Kim Boutin, Jamie Macdonald)

Relay M
Canada: did not take part in the semifinals and eliminated
(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.

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For information:
Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
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