Shannon Rempel & Jean-René Bélanger win speed skating titles at 2003 Canada Post Sprint Championships

Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg and Jean-René Bélanger of Sherbrooke, Que., took different routes to win their second career Canadian sprint titles Monday at the 2003 Canada Post Sprint Championships long track speed skating competition.

In women’s competition, Rempel completed a golden sweep of all four races with victories in the 500 and 1,000 metres on Monday. In the 500, she clocked 39.05 seconds with Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., second in 39.54 and Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., third in 39.76. In the 1,000, Rempel dominated again clocking 1:17.60 with Simpson second in 1:18.26 and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg third in 1:18.55.

In the final overall standings, Rempel placed first over the two days at 155.940 points while Myers finished second at 157.435 and Kim Weger of Regina third 158.640. Those three and Simpson were named to the Canadian team for the world sprint championships next month in Nagano, Japan.

"It was more comfortable for me today," said Rempel, 19, who battling a bad cold. "I just wanted to go a little bit faster and hang on as best as I could. It’s pretty exciting for me to win the Canadian title."

In men’s competition, Bélanger didn’t win a single race but was the most consistent and he took first overall at 143.190. Last year’s champion, Brock Miron of Cornwall, Ont., was second at 143.390 and Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., third at 143.710.

"I’m a bit surprised to win but my goal was to make the world sprint team," said Bélanger, 22, who has no international experience at the senior level. "I think what helped me is that I didn’t pay attention to the standings and just focused on my races. It turned out to be a very close competition."

In the 500, Mark Nielsen of Calgary continued to battle a hip injury suffered last month but still clocked first in 35.70. Miron was second in 35.89 and James Monson of Winnipeg third in 35.90.

"I had a really strong first lap and that made the race for me," said Nielsen, who was in too much pain to race the 1,000 metres afterwards. "But my hip hurts quite a bit when I’m skating. I try to race the same way, but mentally I don’t feel quite as confident."

Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., won the 1,000 metres.

Bélanger and Monson make the world sprint team along with Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., the reigning world champion and Mike Ireland of Winnipeg, the 2001 world sprint champion. Wotherspoon and Ireland had pre-qualified for the team and didn’t race at nationals.

The Canada Post all around championships are January 2-5 in Calgary.

Monday’s results at the 2003 Canada Post Sprint Championships long track speed skating competition at the Olympic Oval in Calgary (all distances in metres):

MEN

500:

1. Mark Nielsen, Calgary, 35.70 seconds

2. Brock Miron, Cornwall, Ont., 35.89

3. James Monson, Winnipeg, 35.90

4. Jean-René Bélanger, Sherbrooke, Que., 35.93

5. Éric Brisson, Ste-Foy, Que., 36.13

6. Peter Volcic, Kitchener, Ont., 36.34

7. Vincent Labrie, Ste-Foy, 36.41

8. Sterling Sobczak, Winnipeg, 36.43

9. Jason Parker, Yorkton, Sask., 36.46

10. Jeff Moir, Oakville, Ont., 36.59.


Overall (final):

1. Jean-René Bélanger, Sherbrooke, Que., 143.190

2. Brock Miron, Cornwall, Ont., 143.390

3. Jason Parker, Yorkton, Sask., 143.710

4. Peter Volcic, Kitchener, Ont., 143.995

5. Dustin Molicki, Calgary, 144.895

6. Éric Brisson, Ste-Foy, Que., 145.060

7. Denny Morrison, Fort St. John, B.C., 145.225

8. Jay Morrison, Fort St. John, B.C., 145.250

9. Vincent Labrie, Ste-Foy, 145.595

10. Cailean Duggan, Ottawa, 145.930.


WOMEN

500:

1. Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg, 39.05

2. Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., 39.54

3. Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask., 39.76

4. Kim Weger, Regina, 39.80

5. Danielle Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 40.19

6. Sarah Smith, Medicine Hat, Alta., 40.22

7. Kristina Groves, Ottawa, 40.49

8. Brittany Schussler, Winnipeg, 40.71

9. Marilou Asselin, Quebec City, 40.91

10. Christine Nesbitt, London, Ont., 41.40.



1,000:

1. Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg,, 1:17.60

2. Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask., 1:18.26

3. Brittany Schussler, Winnipeg, 1:18.55

4. Kristina Groves, Ottawa, 1:18.56

5. Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., 1:18.72

6. Marilou Asselin, Quebec City, 1:19.98

7. Kim Weger, Regina, 1:20.10

8. Sarah Smith, Medicine Hat, Alta., 1:20.62

9. Clara Hughes, Glen Sutton, Que., 1:20.66

10. Danielle Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 1:21.55.


Overall (final):

1. Rempel, 155.940

2. Myers, 157.435

3. Weger, 158.640

4. Groves, 159.660

5. Schussler, 160.530

6. Smith, 161.310

7. Wotherspoon, 161.790

8. Asselin, 162.265

9. Hughes, 164.270

10. Nesbitt, 164.780.



Canadian team for the long track speed skating world sprint championships January 17-18 at Nagano, Japan:

Men:

Jeremy Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta.

Mike Ireland, Winnipeg

James Monson, Winnipeg

Jean-René Bélanger, Sherbrooke, Que.


Women:

Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg

Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask.

Kim Weger, Regina

Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask.