Maltais & Hamelin take the overall titles at Canadian Open Short Track Championship

Maltais and Hamelin take the overall titles at Canadian Open Short Track Championship

SAGUENAY, Que. – Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que., and Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., won the overall titles after three days of races at the 2012 Canadian Open Short Track Championship in Saguenay, Que. Maltais claims her first Canadian crown, while multi-title holder Hamelin claimed his second consecutive.

Hamelin won the overall title with 2,982 points, while Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., had 2,591 to take second place, and Yellowknife’s Michael Gilday was third with 1,430 points. On the women’s side, Maltais’ 3,316 point-total gave her first, followed by Marie-Eve Drolet of Laterrière, Que., with 2,754, and Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que. with 2,247. Marianne St. Gelais of Saint-Félicien, Que., 2011 overall women’s champion, withdrew from the championship on Thursday because of a back injury.

After skating the 1,500-metre distance on Friday and the 500 metres yesterday, the championship wrapped up today with the 1,000- and 3,000-metre races.

The women’s 1,000-metre final, skated over nine laps, featured four national team members battling for top spot and valuable ranking points. Maltais won her second gold medal of the weekend in a time of 1:30.284. Drolet took the silver in 1:30.417 and Jessica Hewitt of Kamloops, B.C., claimed the bronze in 1:30.561. Truchon was fourth in a time of 1:30.655.

In the five- man final, Jean took the lead over Hamelin in the last half lap to win the 1,000-metre distance in 1:24.881. Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., just edged Hamelin at the last turn heading to the finish line in 1:25.114 for the silver medal. Hamelin took the bronze medal in a time of 1:25.155. Rémi Beaulieu of Alma, Que., was fourth (1:25.547) and Pier-Olivier Gagnon of Quebec City was fifth (1.26.125).

The women’s 3,000-metre final had seven skaters, with two-time gold medalist, Maltais, taking the title again in a time of 5:20.674. Gabrielle Waddell of Red Deer, Alta., earned the silver medal (5:21.245) and Montreal’s Sabrina Bourgela took the bronze (5:21.444).

In the eight-skater men’s 3,000-metre final, Hamelin skated the 27-lap course in a time of 5:06.828 to win his fourth medal of the championship and second gold. Both Gilday and Guillaume won their second medals this weekend. Gilday took the silver in a time of 5:07.262, and Bastille was third in a time of 5:07.282 for the bronze.

The Canadian championship serves as the national team selection event for the final two World Cups and World Championship in Shanghai, China, from March 9-11.

Summary of the 2012 Canadian Open Championship:

Overall, men: 1st - Charles Hamelin, 2,982 points; 2nd - Olivier Jean, 2,591; 3rd - Michael Gilday, 1,430; 4th - Liam McFarlane, 1,410; 5th - Guillaume Bastille, 1,385; 6th - Rémi Beaulieu, 1,364

Overall, women: 1st - Valérie Maltais, 3,316 points; 2nd - Marie-Eve Drolet, 2,754; 3rd - Caroline Truchon, 2,247; 4th Gabrielle Waddell, 1,635; 5th - Sabrina Bourgela, 1,581; 6th - Jessica Hewitt, 1,269

500 metres, men: Gold - Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Que.); Silver - François-Louis Tremblay (Alma, Que.) - Bronze - Liam McFarlane (Medicine Hat, Alta.)

500 metres, women: Gold - Valérie Maltais (La Baie, Que.); Silver - Caroline Truchon (Chicoutimi, Que.); Bronze - Marie-Eve Drolet (Laterrière, Que.)

1,000 metres, men: Gold - Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que.; Silver - Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, Que.); Bronze - Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que.

1,000 metres, women: Gold - Valérie Maltais (La Baie, Que.); Silver - Marie-Eve Drolet (Laterrière, Que.); Bronze - Jessica Hewitt (Kamloops, B.C.)

1,500 metres, men: Gold - Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, Que.); Silver - Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Que.); Bronze - Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, N.W.T.)

1,500 metres, women: Gold - Marie-Eve Drolet (Laterrière, Que.); Silver - Valérie Maltais (La Baie, Que.); Bronze - Caroline Truchon (Chicoutimi, Que.)

3,000 metres, men: Gold - Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Que.); Silver - Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, N.W.T.); Bronze - Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, Que.)

3,000 metres, women: Gold - Valérie Maltais (La Baie, Que.); Silver - Gabrielle Waddell (Red Deer, Alta.); Bronze - Sabrina Bourgela (Montreal)