Vicent & Hamelin win opening pursuits at 2004 Canada Post Open Championships

Tania Vicent of Montreal showed she could be tough to catch this weekend both on the ice and the leader’s board with a decisive victory in the women’s 777-metre pursuit race Thursday to start the 2004 Canada Post Open Championships short track speed skating competition.

Vicent clocked one minute and 11.62 seconds for the win with Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford second in 1:13.06 and Amanda Overland of Kitchener, Ont., third in 1:13.34.

The competition is the second part of the national team trials and counts for 66 percent of the total score towards determining the Canadian team for the world championships in March. The top-five overall make the world team and Vicent placed first after the first trials this past November in Jonquiere, Que.

“The pursuit isn’t that important but it gives you a good idea on how the weekend should go,” said Vicent, a member of Canada’s Olympic bronze medal winning relay teams in 1998 and 2002. “I’ve got the lead heading in but I’m not going to hold back at all. I’m going to use the same formula as in November. It worked well for me.”

On the men’s side, 19-year-old Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., won the pursuit clocking 1:07.19. Jeff Scholten of Montreal was second in 1:07.56 and François-Louis Tremblay of Boucherville, Que., third in 1:07.76.

Hamelin, 19, was fifth after the first trials and knows it will go down to the wire for him in terms of making the world team.

“The ice was good, the blades were good and I felt great, “ said Hamelin. “So I’m primed to do well. The key to stay in the top-five will be to have consistent performances and manage my stress level.”

Jonathan Guilmette of Montreal was the leader after the first trials. He was eighth on Thursday. The pursuit does not affect the overall standings. It determines the top-32 skaters who’ll race in the main draws from Friday to Sunday.

Competition continues Friday with the men’s 1,500 metres starting at 1 p.m. local time at the Abbotsford Recreation Centre.

Thursday’s results at the 2004 Canada Post Open Championships short track speed skating competition at Abbotsford, B.C.


MEN

777-metre pursuit

1. Charles Hamelin, Ste-Julie, Que., 1 :07.19
2. Jeff Scholten, Montreal, 1 :07.56
3. François-Louis Tremblay, Boucherville, Que., 1 :07.76
4. Steve Robillard, Montreal, 1 :07.98
5. Jean-François Monette, Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., 1 :08.03
6. Daryl Rasmussen, Prince George, B.C.1 :08.04
7. Mathieu Turcotte, Sherbrooke, Que., 1 :08.17
8. Jonathan Guilmette, Montreal, 1 :08.18
9. Joffrey Larocque, Calgary, 1 :08.32
10. Éric Bédard, Ste-Thècle, Que., 1 :08.35


WOMEN

777-metre pursuit

1. Tania Vicent, Montreal, 1 :11.62
2. Alanna Kraus, Abbotsford, B.C., 1 :13.06
3. Amanda Overland, Kitchener, Ont., 1:13.34
4. Chantale Sévigny, Sherbrooke, 1:13.43
5. Amélie Goulet-Nadon, Laval, Que., 1 :13.45
6. Mélanie Gagnon, Montreal, 1 :13.48
7. Anouk Leblanc-Boucher, Montreal, 1 :13.93
8. Florence Godon, Laval, 1 :14.10
9. Raphaele Lemieux, Rivière-du-Loup, Que., 1 :14.30
10. Anik Plamondon, Montreal, 1 :14.43