Keri Morrison & Pascal Dion fourth in the 1500m at the 2015 Winter Universiade in Spain

Keri Morrison (Burlington, ON) and Pascal Dion (Montreal, QC, borough Rivière-des-Prairies - Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) were the top Canadians on the first day of the short track speed skating events at the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain, as they both finished fourth in the 1500m races.

On the women's side, Keri Morrison, a 23-year-old athlete who had finished 11th in the 1500m event at last year's Universiade in Italy, missed the podium by 21 thousandths of a second as she skated to a time of two minutes 34.360 seconds.

In the men's final, Dion, a 20-year-old skater who is taking part in his first Universiade, finished 41 hundredths of a second away from a podium with a time of 2:33.55.

South Korea won the gold and silver medals while China picked up bronze in both races.

Morrison finished behind Kim Alang, the gold medalist (2:33.829), who also won the silver medal in the 1500m at the 2014 World Championships in Montreal and gold in the women's relay at the 2014 Olympic Games. Lee Eunbyul came up with silver (2:34.168), after also finishing 2nd in the 1500m at the Olympics as well as at last year's World Championships. China's Han Yu Tong also ended up on Wednesday's podium after finishing the race in 2:34.339.

“I knew that with three Koreans in the final, they would probably try to control the race,” said Morrison, who finished 8th at the Canadian Fall World Cup Selections and 10th at the Canadian Open Championships. “I was able to get in between them at the start and a little towards the end, but at that point I was really feeling it in the legs and I wasn't able to stay ahead of the Chinese skater.”

“Finishing third would have been better, but I was close, so I'm happy with fourth place nonetheless.”

On the men's side, South Koreans Park Seyeong (2:32.511) and Han Seungsoo (2:32.798) finished 1-2, followed by China's Chen Guang (2:33.509). Seyeong won the bronze in the 1000m and 1500m races, as well as silver in the relay, at last year's World Championships.

“This was my first time I was skating in an international competition, so I didn't have any specific goals in terms of results. I was simply curious to see at what level I was compared to other skaters”, said Dion, who was 10th at the Canadian Open Championships and 11th at the Fall World Cup Selections. “Once I earned my spot in the A final, the adrenaline started flowing. I was third with one lap to go, but they went by me because of little technical mistakes I made, and a slight loss of balance.”

“Like coach Marc Gagnon told me, I need to learn to know myself better as a skater, so that I can make moves at the right time and make my life easier during a race.”

Namasthée Harris-Gauthier (Montreal, QC, borough Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie, QC) who, like Morrison, is taking part in this event for the second time after having represented Canada in Trentino, Italy in 2013, finished 4th in the B final to take 10th place overall.

Canada qualifies for men's relay semi-finals
Canada's 5000m men's relay team qualified for the semi-finals which will take place on Thursday, after coming up with a time of 7:03.093 in Wednesday's qualification round. The women's relay will kick off Thursday with the semi-finals.

The men's relay, comprised of Samuel Bélanger-Marceau (Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC), Cédrik Blais (Châteauguay, QC), Yoan Gauthier (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) and William Preudhomme (Toronto, ON), finished behind the United States (7:02.986) and ahead of Poland (7:03.231).

Thursday, on the second of three days of speed skating competition, the 500m races will be held, as well as the relay semi-finals. Samuel Bélanger-Marceau, Yoan Gauthier, William Preudhomme, Joanie Gervais (Saguenay, QC), Jamie MacDonald (Fort St. James, BC), Caroline Truchon (Saguenay, QC) as well as the men's and the women's relays – the list of skaters remains to be determined – will be in action.

More information is available at 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.

About the Winter Universiade
The Winter Universiade is a biennial international multi-sport event open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event.

The Granada Universiade will feature nine compulsory sports and one optional sport. Compulsory sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, curling, nordic skiing, short track speed skating, figure skating, synchronized skating, snowboarding. Optional sport: freestyle skiing.

Official website: www.granada2015.org.

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, over 11,500 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 56 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit www.cis-sic.ca or follow us on:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CIS_SIC  
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cissports
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/universitysport
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/CIS_SIC

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For information:
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

Jeff MacKinnon   
Coordinator, Media and Communications Services – long track
Speed Skating Canada
Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
Phone: 403-860-9525
Website: www.speedskating.ca 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SSC.PVC
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SSC_PVC

Ben Matchett
Communications Manager
Team Canada, 2015 Winter Universiade
Cell in Granada: (011) 34-693-816-090
Email: ben.matchett@ucalgary.ca

Matt Gutsch
Communications Officer
Team Canada, 2015 Winter Universiade
Cell in Granada: (011) 34-693-806-291
Email: mgutsch@ualberta.ca