Mathieu Turcotte wins gold medal at short track speed skating World Cup

Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., held off hard-charging American star Apolo Anton Ohno to win the men’s 500-metres on Saturday at the third stop on the short track speed skating World Cup circuit.

It was Canada’s first gold medal this season on the World Cup and Turcotte’s second career individual win on the circuit.

Turcotte, a double medallist at the 2002 Olympics, clocked the second fastest time of his career at 41.673 seconds with Anton Ohno second at 41.724, Takafumi Nishitani of Japan third at 41.955 and Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., fourth in 42.091.

"I didn’t expect such a fast final especially that the ice was deteriorating," said Turcotte, who led from start to finish. "I had a great start and my first couple of laps were very strong but at the end I started to slow down and the gap started to close. We were disappointed not to win a race at the first two World Cups and we’re expecting to do really well this weekend."

Francois-Louis Tremblay of Boucherville, Que., reached the semifinals for seventh overall.

In the women’s 500, Yang Yang of China earned a second gold in two days clocking 45.371 with compatriot Meng Wang second at 45.429 and Marta Capurso of Italy third in 45.561.

Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, B.C., reached the semifinals for sixth overall while Mélanie Gagnon and Kalyna Roberge, both of Montreal, were eliminated in the quarterfinals for 10th and 17th respectively.

Kraus, Roberge , Gagnon and Amanda Overland of Cambridge, Ont., were first in their 3,000-metre relay semfinal to advance to the final. Canada also advanced to the men’s 5,000 relay final winning its semifinal heat with Turcotte, Hamelin, and Jonathan Guilmette and Steve Robillard, both of Montreal.

Competition ends Sunday.