Junior sensation Leblanc-Boucher wins 500 metre race at 2004 Canada Post Open Championships

Anouk Leblanc-Boucher of Montreal carried the confidence she gained at the world junior championships earlier this month to win a surprising gold medal in the women’s 500-metres at the 2004 Canada Post Open Championships short track speed skating competition.

The competition is the second part of the national team trials and counts for 66 percent of the total score towards determining the Canadian team for the world championships in March.

Leblanc-Boucher, the world junior champion in the event, clocked 46.68 seconds with Tania Vicent of Montreal second at 46.77 and Jo-Anne MacLean of Dartmouth, N.S., another surprise finalist in third in 46.87.

“I felt a lot of pressure at the start and a wave of panic came over me,” said Leblanc-Boucher, 19. “But still, I gained a lot of speed and I was able to keep the lead. The victory at the world juniors definitely gave me confidence. I didn’t think it was impossible for me to win here.”

Vicent, the 1,500 winner on Friday, leads the Canadian Open standings with 1,816 points followed by Leblanc-Boucher at 1,070, Amanda Overland of Kitchener, Ont., at 1,028 and Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford at 976.

In the men’s 500, Jean-François Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., overcame a spill in Friday’s 1,500 final for the win in 42.42. Éric Bédard of Ste-Thècle, Que., second at 42.49 and Steve Robillard of Montreal third at 42.03.

“I’ve had great starts this season and that’s kept me out of trouble most of the time,” said Monette, the World Cup champion in the 500 last season. “If I have a great start and manage my race properly like I did tonight I do very well. There’s a lot stress because it’s so close between the guys but I’m actually enjoying it.”

Robillard, the 1,500 winner on Friday, leads the Canadian Open standings at 1,666 followed by Monette at 1,295 and Bédard at 976.

Competition ends Sunday.

Saturday’s results at the 2004 Canada post Open Championships short track speed skating competition:


MEN


500


1. Jean-François Monette, Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., 42.421

2. Éric Bédard, 42.491

3. Steve Robillard, Montreal, 42.543

4. François-Louis Tremblay, Boucherville, Que., 42.695


WOMEN


500


1. Anouk-Leblanc-Boucher, Montreal, 46.682

2. Tania Vicent, Montreal, 46.772

3. Jo-Anne MacLean, Dartmouth, N.S., 46.870

4. Mélanie Gagnon, Montreal, 46.954

5. Kalyna Roberge, Ste-Étienne-de-Lauzon, Que., 46.970