Isabelle Weidemann & the men's pursuit team finish fourth at Junior Long Track World Cup Final in Poland

Isabelle Weidemann of, Ottawa, Ont., finished fourth in the women's 1500m as did Ben Donnelly (Ottawa, Ont.), Alexandre Déry (Lévis, QC), and Christopher Fiola (Montréal, QC) in the men's team pursuit, Saturday, on the first day of the Junior Long Track Speed Skating World Cup Final held in Warsaw, Poland.

This competition serves as a final tune-up for the national junior team ahead of the Junior World Championships set to take place next weekend, Feb. 20-22, also in Warsaw.
 
Weidemann, who is a member of Speed Skating Canada's training squad, skated to a time of 2:09.36 to finish fourth, only 52 hundredths of a second away from a bronze medal, which was won by Park Ji-Woo (2:08.84), of South Korea. Melissa Wufje (2:04.09), from the Netherlands, and Russia's Yelizaveta Kazelina (2:05.78) respectively earned gold and silver.

“My 1500m today was OK, not particularly one of my bests,” said Weidemann. “I had a hard time getting it going; the opener and the first lap were a little slow. All in all though, it was a decent start to the weekend. And it was especially nice to be skating outdoors in the sun!”
 
In the team pursuit, the Canadian men's team comprised of Donnelly, the reigning Canadian junior champion, Déry and Fiola also finished fourth, with a time of four minutes, 11 seconds and 12 hundreths. South Korea (4:00.53), followed by the Netherlands (4:00.68) and Russia (4:05.75), all ended up on the podium.

In the women's pursuit, Canada took fifth place with a time of 3:26.51. South Korea (3:18.50), the Netherlands (3:20.68) and Japan (3:21.95) respectively earned gold, silver and bronze.

“I'm presently surprised by the result considering we approached this race as a warm-up to finetune our approach for the World Championships,” said Christopher Fiola, who is taking part in his first international competition and also finished eighth in the 500m.

“We worked well together, our times were consistent from one lap to the next and we had a lot of fun,” said Alexandre Déry, whose brother François is a member of Speed Skating Canada's training squad. “Some small details weren't perfect. For example, I almost fell with three laps to go, and so did Christopher at the start. But it was the first time we were skating together, so the speed wasn't up there as it could have been. But I think we'll be faster at the World Championships. I'm optimistic.”

The reigning junior national champion, Noémie Fiset (Quebec City, QC), was the top Canadian in the women's 500m with a 13th-place finish. Donnelly, for his part, was ninth in the men's 1500m.

The second and last day of the competition, Sunday, will feature the 1000m, 3000m and mass start races.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:
500m W
13. Noémie Fiset (41.80)
15. Maddison Pearman (42.07)
21. Juliette Wheler (42.51)

500m M
8. Christopher Fiola (37.58)
11. Alexandre Déry (37.79)

1500m W
4. Isabelle Weidemann (2:09.36)
20. Maddison Pearman (2:14.75)

1500m M
9. Ben Donnelly (1:57.09)

Team Pursuit W
5. Canada (3:26.51)
(Isabelle Weidemann, Noémie Fiset, Juliette Wheler)

Team Pursuit M
4. Canada (4:11.12)
(Ben Donnelly, Alexandre Déry, Christopher Fiola)
 
More information 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:
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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Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC

Patrick Godbout
Communications & Media Relations Manager
Speed Skating Canada
Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
Phone: 514 213-9897
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC