World record for Canada in relay at short track speed skating World Cup

Canada started the World Cup short track speed skating season with a bang Friday as it broke its world record in the men’s 5,000 metre relay in the opening heats.

The Canadians with Jonathan Guilmette of Montreal, Jeff Scholten of Fredericton, Éric Bédard of Ste-Thècle, Que., and Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., clocked 6:43.667 to eclipse its previous world mark of 6:43.730, also set in Calgary on October 14, 2001. Canada also qualified for the relay semifinal on Saturday.

"We knew we were capable of doing it," said Scholten, the current world record holder in the 500 metres. "We were close in training this week and I think everyone now is pretty happy. The key was we had a very good start and the early splits showed we could get the record."

Canada was shutout of the medals in the 1,500 finals.

In the men’s 1,500 metres, Seung-Jae Lee of South Korea was the winner in two minutes and 17.512 seconds. His compatriot and world champion Hyun-Soo Ahn, 17, was second in 2:17.648 and Olympic champion Apolo Anton Ohno of the U.S., took the bronze in 2:17.742.

Scholten and Jean-François Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., were eliminated in the semifinals for eighth and 16th place respectively and Guilmette was disqualified in his opening heat.

In the women’s 1,500, world junior champion Chun-Sa Byun of South Korea was the winner in 2:39.459, Meng Wang of China second in 2:39.978 and European champion Evgenia Radanova of Bulgaria third in 2:40.543.

Last year’s triple World Cup champion Amélie Goulet-Nadon of Laval, Que., and Amanda Overland of Kitchener, Ont., were eliminated in the semifinals for eighth and 18th respectively and Tania Vicent of Montreal was disqualified in her opening heat.

"I don’t feel completely ready yet," said Goulet-Nadon, 20, who suffered a knee injury last month. "The knee problem hurt my preparation and it showed tonight. On the ice however the knee felt fine, it didn’t bother me at all.

In the women’s 3,000 metre relay, Canada advanced to the semifinal by placing first in its heat in 4:22.820. The Canadian skaters were Goulet-Nadon, Overland, Vicent and Anne Maltais of Montreal.

Competition continues Saturday with the men’s and women’s 500 metres.