Hamelin & Roberge repeat winners at Canadian Open in short track speed skating

Olympic medallists Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., guaranteed themselves berths in the individual races at the upcoming world championships on Friday with victories in their respective 500-metres at the Canadian Open in short track speed skating.

In the women’s 500 final, Roberge needed three attempts to get the lead and gained top spot with two laps to go for the win in 45.118. Anne Maltais of Quebec City was second in 45.310 and Nita Avrith of Montreal third in 45.411. Jessica Gregg of Edmonton, who was leading before being passed by Roberge, was fourth in 45.658.

“I actually nearly fell twice trying to pass Jessica for the lead,” said Roberge, 20. “I was trying to pass inside then I made a quick decision to go on the outside and it worked. I think my experience has been a big factor at these trials.”

This week’s competition is the second of two trials to determine the Canadian team for the final two World Cups in Europe next month and the world championships in March. The top-six men and women overall earn a berth on the team with the top-two guaranteed to race all the individual events.

Roberge is undefeated in both trials with five victories in five races and has 7,000 points. Maltais is second overall at 3,908, Annik Plamondon of Longueil, Que., third at 3,329, Gregg fourth at 2,490, Marianne-St-Gelais of St-Felicien, Que., fifth at 2,392, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa sixth at 2,389 and Nita Avrith of Montreal seventh at 2,230.

In the men’s 500, Hamelin won the final in 41.367 seconds with Francois-Louis Tremblay of Montreal second in 41.497 and Jean-Francois-Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., third in 41.629.

“I nailed my start in the final and had good speed,” said Hamelin. “I was able to hold the lead throughout. I think the reason I’m having success right now is I’m confident, calm and in great shape. All the preparation I’ve put in is paying off. But I’m looking forward to racing tomorrow (Saturday) without too much pressure.”

In the men’s overall standings heading into Saturday’s final 1,000-metre race, Hamelin has four wins in five races over two trials for 6,543 points. Tremblay is second at 3,755, Jean-Francois Monette third at 3,251, Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., fourth at 3,093, Marc-Andre Monette of Pointe-aux Trembles fifth at 1,869, Michael Gilday of Yellowknife sixth at 1,851 and Mathieu Giroux of Montreal seventh at 1,707.

Competition ends Saturday.

Friday’s results at the Canadian Open short track speed skating championships in Sudbury, Ont.

MEN

500

A Final : 1.Charles Hamelin, Ste-Julie, Que., 41.367 seconds; 2. Francois-Louis Tremblay, Montreal, 41.497; 3. Jean-Francois Monette, Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., 41.629; 4. Olivier Jean, Lachenaie, Que., 45.769.

B Final : 1. Liam McFarlane, Medicine Hat, Alta., 43.087; 2. Guillaume Blais-Duffour, Montreal, 43.100; 3. Nicolas Bean, Ottawa, 43.200; 4. Steve Robillard, Montreal, 43.222.

Overall (after five of six races): 1. Hamelin, 6,543 points; 2. Tremblay, 3,755; 3. Jean-Francois Monette, 3,251; 4. Jean, 3,093; 5. Marc-Andre Monette, Pointe-aux-Trembles, 1,869; 6. Michael Gilday, Yellowknife, 1,851; 7. Mathieu Giroux, Montreal, 1,707; 8. Nicolas Bean, Ottawa, 1,655; 9. Remi Beaulieu, Montreal, 1,472; 10. McFarlane, 1,323.

WOMEN

500

A Final: 1. Kalyna Roberge, Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., 45.118; 2. Anne Maltais, Quebec City, 45.310; 3. Nita Avrith, Montreal, 45.411; 4. Jessica Gregg, Edmonton, 45.658.

B Final: 1. Valerie Lambert, Sherbrooke, Que., 45.473; 2. Marianne St-Gelais, St-Felicien, Que., 45.565; 3. Valerie Maltais, Saguenay, Que., 45.575; 4. Annik Plamondon, Longueuil, Que., 1 :17.874.

Overall (after five of six races): 1. Roberge, 7,000; 2. Maltais, 3,908; 3. Plamondon, 3,329; 4. Gregg, 2,490; 5. St-Gelais, 2,392; 6. Ivanie Blondin, Ottawa, 2,389; 7. Nita Avrith, Montreal, 2,230; 8. Melanie Gagnon, Montreal, 1,871; 9. Amanda Overland, Montreal, 1,662; 10. Maltais, 1,492.