Silver & bronze for Canada at short track world juniors

Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., finished second and third respectively in the men’s 1,500 metres Friday to open the world junior short track speed skating championships.

Hon-Suk Lee of South Korea took the gold in two minutes and 20.143 seconds. Hamelin followed in 2:20.712 and Giroux was third in 2:20.810. Steve Robillard of Montreal, a double silver medallist last year, was fifth in 2:26.470. Robillard, the pre-race favorite, got into trouble early when he got tangled up with a Korean and never regained the lead pack.

Hyun-Kon Kim of South Korea crossed the finish line second but was disqualified for cross tracking when he tried to pass his teammate at the finish.

It was a classic final with three Canadians and three Koreans, the two superpowers in the sport.

"We didn’t really have a team strategy," said Hamelin, 18, eighth overall at last year’s world juniors. "All we wanted to do was stay with the Koreans, not let them get too far ahead and make our move. We did a pretty good job in that department. It was close."

Giroux, 16, was making his international debut but showed the composure of a veteran in the critical moments of the final.

"I was very nervous at the start of the competition," said Giroux. "But I just got more and more comfortable after every heat."

In the women’s 1,500, South Korea swept the medals with Chun-Sa Byun first in 2:22.097, Yun-Mi Kang second in 2:22.205 and Min-Jung Kim third in 2:23.484.

Émilie Nadeau-Benoit of Longueuil, Que., reached the final and was fifth in 2:27.051. Crystal Phillips of Beaumont, Alta., and Anouk Leblanc-Boucher of Montreal were eliminated in the opening heats.

Canada advanced to both 2,000-metre relay semifinals. The men won their heat while the women qualified second.

Competition continues Saturday.