Hamelin & Roberge repeat winners at national team trials in short track speed skating

Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., were repeat winners on Saturday with victories in the 500-metre races at the national team trials in short track speed skating.

Hamelin and Roberge, both Olympic medallists last year, also won the opening 1,500-metre races on Friday.

In the men’s 500 final, Hamelin clocked 41.157 seconds for the victory passing François-Louis Tremblay of Montreal on the last lap. Tremblay was second in 41.628 and Jeff Scholten of Fredericton third in 41.773. Hamelin clocked a Canadian record 41.151 in the quarterfinal.

"Considering the depth of the competition here I’m surprised to have two wins," said Hamelin. "The ice was in excellent condition and that explained the fast times especially in the early rounds. But all day I skated really well."

In the women’s 500, Roberge was the victor in 44.496 with Jessica Gregg of Edmonton second in 44.671 and Anne Maltais of Quebec City third in 44.687.

"Kalyna is a skater who continues to get better," said Canadian national team coach Martin Gagné. "Her acceleration is her main strength and she can maintain that high speed for long time. She looks comfortable in the races and she’s definitely going to be tough to beat in the 1,000 tomorrow (on Sunday)."

In the overall standings after two of three events, Hamelin leads the men’s standings with 2000 points, Tremblay is second at 1,259, Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., third at 1,109, Scholten is fourth at 862, Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., fifth at 835 and Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., sixth at 613.

In the women’s overall standings, Roberge stands first at 2,000, Anouk Leblanc-Boucher of Montreal is second at 986, Maltais third at 907, Gregg fourth at 902, Ivanie Blondin of Orleans, Ont., fifth at 862 and Amanda Overland of Montreal sixth at 846.

The skaters are battling for spots on the Canadian team for the World Cup stops December 2-3 at Saguenay, Que., and December 8-10 in Montreal. The top-three overall automatically earn berths on the team while the other three selections are coaches’ decisions.

Competition ends Sunday.