Jordan Belchos earns second win & sees Graeme Fish beat his junior national record in the 10,000m at the Canadian Single Distance Championships

Calgary, January 4, 2017 – Jordan Belchos earned his second win of the week, this time in the 10,000m, and saw his junior national record in that distance broken by Graeme Fish, Wednesday, on the second day of the Canadian National Single Distance Championships to be held until Friday at Calgary's Olympic Oval. Meanwhile, Isabelle Weidemann was officially named to the Canadian team for the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships after skating to first place in the women's 5000m.

In the men's 10,000m, Jordan Belchos of Toronto, ON, won the race in 13:22.98. He finished ahead of Graeme Fish from Moose Jaw, SK, and Stefan Waples of Winnipeg, MB.
 
As a result, Belchos is now sure of skating in at least three events at the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships, as he has already pre-qualified for the mass start following the results he earned in the Fall World Cups. He also earned Canada's second spot in the men's 5000m at the World Championships by winning Tuesday's race in that distance.

The 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships will take place February 9-12 on the official ice of the 2018 Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea.
 
“It’s hard to describe how I’m feeling. I wouldn’t say that was my best race, but I tried to commit to the things that I am working on,” said Jordan Belchos.
 
“I’m glad to now be qualified to race the 10,000m at the World Championships. After finishing fifth last year at the Worlds, I felt a lot of pressure to go back and skate really well this year. I felt the bulk of that pressure at World Cup #4 to try and qualify this spot for Canada, and pressure again today to earn the spot for myself. In that sense, I’m definitely happy!”

Last spring, Jordan Belchos took fifth place in the 10,000m at the World Single Distance Championships.

“At the beginning of the season, I said that I wanted to challenge for a medal in this race at the Worlds. Last spring, I came only a second away from fourth place and six or seven seconds away from a bronze. I felt that if I could gain only a few seconds and really challenge Ted-Jan (Bloemen), the Dutch skaters and a whole host of other guys that are good as well, then I’d be happy. I want to go to the Worlds Singles feeling like if I skate a good race, I can win a medal.”
 
For his part, Graeme Fish set a new national record at the junior level by skating to a time of 13:35.23 in Wednesday's 10,000m. He beat the former record that Jordan Belchos had held since 2007.

“It’s good to know that I broke Jordan’s record, so I could maybe potentially become as good as he is now,” said Graeme Fish. “I want to be like him and be able to go to the World Singles in the future, and even the Olympics. It’s good to see that I’m on the right path to do that.”

Already pre-qualified for the 5000m and the 10,000m, Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, AB, did not take part in Wednesday's 10,000m race.
 
Weidemann earns spot at 2017 World Championships
In the women's 5000m, Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, ON, held on to her national title in this distance by winning the race in 7:13.28. She finished ahead of Victoria Spence (7:18.76) and Josie Spence (7:27.11), both from Kamloops, B.C.
 
The win means Isabelle Weidemann will be part of the Canadian team that will be at the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships. She will skate in the women's 5000m alongside Ivanie Blondin, also from Ottawa, who has pre-qualified for the World Championships in that distance.
 
“I have mixed feelings about today,” said Isabelle Weidemann. “My lap times were consistent but overall, my time wasn't fast. I'm disappointed with that. I've got a lot to work on tactically and technically in the coming weeks. Still, my time was good enough to qualify me for the World Championships, which was the ultimate goal after my poor performance in the 3000m (Tuesday). I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. I've got a lot to improve on to be ready for the Worlds!”
 
Isabelle Weidemann, who finished fifth in this distance at the 2016 World Championships in Kolomna, Russia, could also take part in the 3000m event in Gangneung. On Tuesday, Weidemann and Brianne Tutt from Airdrie, AB, finished tied in second place in that distance as they came up with identical times. They will have to wait for a decision to be made by Speed Skating Canada's Long Track High Performance Committee, which will meet on Friday.
 
McLean and Dutton skate to victory in the 500m races
In the first set of two 500m events scheduled this week, Heather McLean of Winnipeg, MB, gave herself a birthday present – she turned 24 on Wednesday – by skating to victory while registering her fastest time this season, 37.51. Marsha Hudey of White City, SK, was second in 38.09.
 
McLean and Hudey have already pre-qualified in this distance for the 2017 World Single Distance Championships.

“I was really excited to race here at home. I missed out on that at the trials in the fall because I was sick,” pointed out Heather McLean. “I was really looking forward to showing up today. I was a little disappointed with my opener, but happy with my lap, so I’m confident going into Thursday’s race. I think I definitely benefited from having a couple weeks of training at home. Things are better now than they were on the road.”
 
Kaylin Irvine of Calgary, AB, has taken a very slim lead in the race to earn Canada's third and last spot in this distance at the World Single Distance Championships. The ticket to the World Championships will go to the top skaters, both on the men's and women's sides, except for those who have already pre-qualified, based on their overall time following this week's two 500m races. The second races will take place on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Irvine finished ahead of Shannon Rempel from Winnipeg, MB, by only one thousandth of a second thanks to a time of 38.531. That is her fastest time so far this season.

“That was my fastest opener of the season, so I’m really happy about that,” said Kaylin Irvine. “My time was decent, although it was not my best race. I know I can go faster at this moment. Hopefully, I will be able to bring it together tomorrow in a smarter race. It’s tight, it's down to one spot for the World Championships, so it always makes for good competition. We'll see what happens.”

On the men's side, the win went to William Dutton of Humboldt, SK, who came up with a time of 34.58, his fastest this season.
 
Dutton is also looking to earn the third and final spot available in the 500m distance at the World Championships. Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, QC, and Alex Boisvert-Lacroix from Sherbrooke, QC, who have already pre-qualified for the international competition, finished second in Wednesday's race with times of 34.60 and 34.64, respectively.
 
“That was my best race of the season and my sixth fastest time ever,” pointed out William Dutton, who won four medals on the World Cup circuit last season but had a slow start to the 2016-2017 season.

“I had a really strong showing last season and I was hoping to put myself into a medal position for the Worlds this year. So I'm keeping that dream alive and I’m going to carry that into tomorrow and hopefully execute the same plan. I’m coming off a bad start to the season, so I had a bit of passion to do well today. It was important for me to do well and this result puts me in a position to qualify for the World Championships.”

William Dutton said his grandmother's death, a few weeks ago, had a strong impact on him.

“In October, my grandmother got very ill, so I took that to heart because I was very close to her. As World Cups went on this fall, she got more and more ill. I decided to pull out of the last World Cup to go see her. She passed away a couple weeks after I saw her. I dedicate this race to her.”
 
Vincent de Haître of Cumberland, ON, came up with a personal best as he finished the 500m under the 35-second mark for the first time. He registered a time of 34.93. His former best stood at 35.02.

The final and official list of Canadian skaters and the events in which they will take part at the 2017 ISU World Single Distance Championships will be announced at a later date following approval by Speed Skating Canada's Long Track High Performance Committee, which will evaluate any appeal or exemption request, if applicable.

Canada Cup #2
In Canada Cup #2 competition, held at the same time at the Canadian Single Distance Championships, Jérôme Detuncq (36.01) of Quebec City, QC, won the men's 500m, followed by Denny Morrison (36.52) of Fort St. John, B.C., and Cooper Hunter (36.93) of De Winton, AB. In the men's 1000m, the win went to Daniel Dubreuil (1:10.89) of Lévis, QC. Jess Neufeld (1:11.27) from Winnipeg, MB, was second, while Braden Clouthier (1:11.70) of Dawson Creek, B.C, was third.
 
On the women's side, Romania's Alexandra Ianculescu won the first 500m and 1000m races scheduled this week. In the 500m, Ianculescu registered a time of 39.76 to finish ahead of Hee Won Son (40.36) from Calgary, AB, Sara Spence (40.57) from Kamloops, B.C., and Julia Roth (40.80) of Calgary. In the 1000m, Ianculescu won it in 1:19.34. Maddison Pearman (1:19.37) of Ponoka, AB, Hee Won Son (1:22.28) and Véronique Déry (1:22.58) from Lévis, QC, followed in that order.

Canada Cup competitions are a series of events where athletes can earn points for each distance towards season-ending rankings, as well as a competition for senior and junior A, B, C2 athletes, this last category being dedicated to skaters born between July 1st, 2001, and June 30, 2002.

On Thursday, the second 500m races and the 1000m event will be held as part of the National Single Distance Championships, while a second 1000m will be raced as part of Canada Cup #2.

In the men's 500m and 1000m, the top skaters, except for those who have already pre-qualified, will earn the last spots attributed to Canada for the World Single Distance Championships. In the 1000m, Vincent de Haître and Alexandre St-Jean have pre-qualified. On the women's side, the two available spots will go to the top two skaters in Thursday's race.

The races are webcast on the Calgary Olympic Oval YouTube channel, available at www.youtube.com/TheOlympicOval.
 
More information, including the detailed schedule and links to results and webcast information, are available at Speed Skating Canada's website at 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.

- 30 -

For information:
Kerry Dankers
Long Track Program and Communications Coordinator
Speed Skating Canada
Email: kdankers@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-589-8960
Website: www.speedskating.ca  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC 
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