Valérie Maltais gets back to a golden performance as Canada wins three medals, Saturday, at ISU World Cup Short Track in Shanghai

Shanghai, December 12, 2015 – Valérie Maltais won the second individual gold medal of her career by finishing first in the women's 1000m while Charles Hamelin picked up gold in the men's 1500m (1) and Charle Cournoyer collected silver in the men's 1000m, Saturday, at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating held this weekend in Shanghai, China.

In an eventful women's 1000m final that had to be started over, Valérie Maltais of La Baie, QC, won gold by finishing ahead of Dutch skater Suzanne Schulting. The two other athletes skating in the final, South Korea's Shim Suk Hee and China's Qu Chunyu, were penalized.

“There were a lot of things going on,” said Valérie Maltais of the final. “We started the race over after three skaters, me included, fell after (China's) Qu Chunyu overtook us – and she was subsequently penalized. We started the race over with three skaters and I found myself in front with one lap and a half to go but the two skaters behind me fell. It was a rather bizarre final, but I took the right decisions and I was at the right place at the right time… in both finals!”

Maltais had won one individual gold medal so far over her career on the international scene. She won a 1000m race held at the second World Cup stage of the 2012-2013 season in Montreal, on October 28, 2012.

“Let's say that I was looking to win this gold medal for a long time. I came close in Toronto, but I'm happy I did it in Shanghai,” she said.

This is Maltais' second individual medal this season. She collected bronze in the 1000m in Toronto.

A fourth gold medal in four World Cups for Charles Hamelin
In the first of the two 1500m events slated for the weekend, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, extended his streak by coming up with a gold medal for a fourth World Cup stage in a row.
On Saturday, Charles Hamelin finished ahead of world title holder Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands and Park Se Yeong of South Korea.

“It was a very fast final – 2:12, that's pretty quick and you don't see that very often in a 1500m. It's good to see that I had the legs to do it,” said Charles Hamelin, who won it with a time of 2:12.634, compared to 2:12.701 for Knegt and 2:12.767 for Park.

“The final was held with eight skaters, so it was key to avoid falling into the trap of being too patient and finding yourself too far back. I therefore looked to overtake skaters early on, and was able to do it well. With seven laps to go, I found myself in front and I was able to stay there by managing my energy level effectively.”

This season, Charles Hamelin also won the 1000m race held in Montreal, the second 500m event in Toronto and last week's 500m race in Nagoya, Japan.

Also in the A final, François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Qc, was swept by Chinese skater Guang Chen's fall and then came into heavy contact with France's Sébastien Lepape, which forced organizers to stop the race momentarily. François Hamelin suffered a concussion and a fractured tooth and will not race on Sunday.

Charle Cournoyer back on the podium
In the men's 1000m, Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, was back on the podium with a silver medal.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old Olympic medalist won silver in the 500m skated in Montreal, and gold in the 1000m held in Toronto before being kept off the podium last week in Japan.

South Korea's Kwak Yoon-Gy won gold and Russia's Semen Elistratov came up with bronze in Saturday's race.

“This is my second medal this season in this distance, but circumstances were a little bit different than in Toronto. Today, I found myself more often in complex situations than I was in Toronto, and I still came out on top of those situations, so that's quite satisfying, and it's a very good sign that I'm in good physical shape,” said Cournoyer.

Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, who also took part in the A final, finished fourth. He was also kept out of the podium last week after winning individual medals in Montreal and Toronto.

“I'm pleased with my fourth-place finish,” said Samuel Girard. “I tried to apply the strategy I had set out, but it didn't go as planned. I'm mostly pleased about coming back strong in the 1000m after having to go through the repechage heats in Nagoya and seeing my road end in the quarterfinals there. I was able to show that although I made mistakes in Japan, I was able to learn from that.”

Streak ends for Marianne St-Gelais
Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, finished sixth in the women's 1500m (1) event and therefore saw her string of consecutive events with podium finishes come to an end.

Since the start of the season, St-Gelais had won a medal in each of the individual events she had taken part in on the World Cup circuit, for a total of six medals in six events.

On Saturday, Choi Minjeong of South Korea won gold, followed by China's Tao Jiaying and British skater Charlotte Gilmartin.

“In the final, I knew that the Chinese skaters Tao Jiaying and Yin Qi were going to work together, but I was gunning for Choi Minjeong, who I felt I could beat,” added Marianne St-Gelais. “With six laps to go, I was in second place when one of the two Chinese skaters overtook me and forced me wide on the turn, which allowed the other Chinese skater to come up third. In trying to come back into third place, I lost of bit of speed and wasn't able to overtake. (Great Britain's) Charlotte Gilmartin then made contact with my blades and I fell.”

“It wasn't a bad race overall, though. I still did some good things.”

“It's unfortunate, but it wasn't necessarily the most important goal I was setting for myself,” said Marianne St-Gelais of her streak. “I was again aiming for a podium finish today, but I also set out to try different things, like going into heavy traffic. In order to gain experience for the future, I sometimes need to put myself in situations where I feel less at ease so that I can learn. And today, it led to a fall.”

In the relay, both Canadian teams qualified for the A finals set for Sunday as they each finished second in their semifinal heat. On the men's side, Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Charle Cournoyer and Patrick Duffy of Oakville, ON, skated fort the Canadian team, as did Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Audrey Phaneuf of Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, and Kim Boutin de Sherbrooke, QC, on the women's side.

Sunday, the repechage and final rounds in the second 1500m and the 500m will be held, in addition to the relay finals.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:

1000m F
-Valérie Maltais: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
-Audrey Phaneuf: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 14)
-Kim Boutin: 5th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 17)

1500m (1) H
-Charles Hamelin: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
-François Hamelin: fall in the A final (final ranking: 7)
-Pascal Dion: penalty in the heats and eliminated (final ranking: 41)

1000m M
-Charle Cournoyer: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
-Samuel Girard: 4th in the A final (final ranking: 4)
-Patrick Duffy: 2nd in the B final (final raning: 6)

1500m (1) W
-Marianne St-Gelais: 6th in the A final (final ranking: 6)
-Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: 1st in the B final (final ranking: 7)
-Kasandra Bradette: 2nd in the B final (final ranking: 8)

Relay M
-Canada: 2nd in the semifinals and will take part in the A final Sunday
(Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Patrick Duffy, Charle Cournoyer)

Relais W
-Canada: 2nd in the semifinals and will take part in the A final Sunday
(Marianne St-Gelais, Audrey Phaneuf, Kim Boutin, Valérie Maltais)

More information is available on Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca.
 
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

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