Hot Turcotte wins gold in 500 at short track World Cup

Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., continued his amazing string of success on the World Cup short track speed skating circuit on Saturday with a gold medal performance in the men’s 500-metres.

Turcotte, who has medalled in six of his seven last races, clocked 42.021 seconds to win the event for a second straight World Cup competition. His big rival on the World Cup this season Apolo Anton Ohno of the U.S., settled for silver in 42.427 while Jiajun Li of China was third in 43.297.

"It’s my speed that helped me get the win today," said Turcotte, a double medallist at the 2002 Olympics. "I had a great start position off the line and I wanted to get ahead right away. I think Anton Ohno and I have a pretty good rivalry going. I don’t really change my race strategy if he’s in the final but we’re certainly keeping an eye on each other."

Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Francois-Louis Tremblay of Boucherville, Que., were eliminated in the semifinals for seventh and eighth overall respectively.

In the women’s 500, Meng Wang of China won the for the second straight day clocking 45.194. She took the 1,500 on Friday night. Allison Baver of the U.S., second Friday, was runner-up again in 45.893 and world record holder Evgenia Radanova of Bulgaria was third 55.171.

As the race neared the finish, China’s Tianyu Fu fell and brought down Radanova and Kalyna Roberge of Montreal with her. Fu got up and finished fourth while Roberge, who was in third spot at the time, was shaken up and did not finish.

"The fall doesn’t take away from the fact I had a very strong race," said Roberge, at only her second career World Cup competition. "I tried to avoid the Chinese skater when she fell but I was too much off balance. When I fell I was a bit dizzy and the coach told me to stay down."

Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, B.C., was eliminated in the semis for sixth spot and Mélanie Gagnon of Montreal was ousted in the quarterfinals for 13th.

Roberge returned in the 3,000-metre relay and helped Canada win its semifinal heat with Kraus, Amanda Overland of Cambridge, Ont., and Tania Vicent of Montreal to advance to Sunday’s final. The Canadian men also won their 5,000 relay semfinal with Hamelin, Tremblay, Jonathan Guilmette and Steve Robillard of Montreal.

Competition ends Sunday.