Three short track medals for Canada at Winter Universiade

On their last day of competition at the 24th Winter Universiade in Harbin, Canadian athletes did not disappoint by taking three medals. Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) finally got what he deserved with a silver in the 1000m, and went on to help the relay take another silver medal, and the women’s relay team added a bronze.

Bastille came very close to the podium in yesterday’s 3000m when he finished 4th, so he was hungry for a medal today in the 1000m, a distance in which he won a pair of World Cup bronze medals last season. “I thought Guillaume had a great week, and with him coming so close yesterday, it was nice to have him break through and get the medal he deserved,” explained coach Stephen Gough.

Korean Lee Seung Hong was the only one beating Bastille in the final, when he crossed the line in 1:28.064, just .8 seconds faster than Bastille (1:28.838). The bronze medal went to Russian skater Ruslan Zakharov (1:29.131).

“He [Bastille] skated a really tough final,” continued Gough. “All week we’ve been having trouble getting the officials to give the skaters the proper rest. The television coverage of the event is dictating the rest the athletes are getting. We’re supposed to be getting 20 minutes, but that’s not always happening. I thought he did a good job preparing for the final in a tough environment and skated a good race.”

Two other Canadians came close to the final, but were stopped in semi-final rounds, Richard Shoebridge (Cambridge, ON) and Liam McFarlane (Medicine Hat, AB) finished 8th and 9th respectively. Alex Boisvert-Lacroix (Sherbrooke, QC) made it to the quarter final round for 12th place.

On the women side, Red Deer’s Gabrielle Waddell was the top Canadian skater today with a 10th place. She was stopped in quarter final. As was Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau (Montréal, QC) and Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC), who finished 11th and 15th respectively. Nita Avrith (Montréal, QC) did not make it through the first round and had to settle for 27th place.

In relay action, the Canadian men’s team made of Bastille, Boisvert-Lacroix, Shoebridge and Tyler Derraugh (Winnipeg, MB) captured the silver medal with a time of 7:03.929, second only to China in 7:00.424. The Korean team took bronze (7:05.141).

“Unfortunately, our success earlier in the day may have caught up with us in the afternoon,” said Stephen Gough. “There were a number of Chinese skaters that maybe should have advanced further than they did, and they were able to get their legs again for the relays. We hung in there until about eight or nine laps left in the race, but we just couldn’t hang on.”

The women’s team (Lambert, Avrith, Mendes-Campeau and Annik Plamondon of Longueuil) took the bronze medal, behind China and Korea.

“I thought it was a really good day for Canada,” explained Alex Boisvert-Lacroix. “I think we maybe could have had a few more than the three medals we won, but we’re very happy. The relays have always been strong for Canada. It was a fun week, especially to be around the other athletes. We don’t get a chance to do that very often, and to have other athletes from other sports around in the village was good.”

Canadian short track skaters have concluded their competition at the Winter Universiade with today’s three medals. Their long track teammates still have three days of competition ahead of them.