Bélanger & Gauthier, 9th in 500 m at World Junior ST Championships

Genève Bélanger and Yoan Gauthier finish ninth in 500 metres at World Junior Short Track Championships in Poland

WARSAW, Poland
- Genève Bélanger and Yoan Gauthier were Canada’s top skaters today both taking ninth place in the 500 metres at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Warsaw, Poland. Sunday’s races will include the 1,000 metres and relay finals. Live web streaming is available at http://www.YouTube.com/SkatingISU.

Montreal’s Bélanger was the only Canadian to reach the 500-metre semifinals after winning her preliminary race and placing second in both the qualifying heat and quarterfinals. In her second world junior championships, the 15-year-old needed to be aggressive in the semifinals after falling to third place at the first turn behind the Chinese and Lithuanian skaters. With Yutong Han of China solid in first place, Bélanger tried to pass Agne Sereikaite of Lithuania several times and was finally penalized for her efforts. She ranked fourth behind the Australian in the race.

The men’s and women’s 500-metre race had five rounds, including the final. Skaters went through the preliminaries, qualifying heats, quarterfinals and semifinals to reach the final.

Joanie Gervais, of Jonquière, Que., earned 21st place overall in the 500 metres after placing second in her preliminary race and third in the qualifying heat. Audrey Phaneuf, of Boucherville, Que., won her first race and then eliminated in the qualifying heat after receiving a penalty. She finished 32nd overall.

Gauthier, of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., won his preliminary and qualifying heat races, but was third in the quarterfinals and did not advance further. Calgary’s Sasha Fathoullin, 15th overall, was first in his preliminary race, took second place in his qualifying heat, but was fourth in the quarterfinals after falling early in the race. David Goulet, of Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., took 20th place after place third in his second race.

In the men’s relay semifinal, Canada has an easy final 18 laps after both Germany and Italy fell early in the race (ninth lap) and the United States trailed in second place. Joined by Toronto’s William Preudhomme, Fathoullin Gauthier and Goulet finished in a time of 4:16.514, with the Americans in second place at 4:21.871. Canada, the United States, Korea and Russia will meet in the tomorrow’s final.

After falling midway through the 27-lap 3,000-metre relay semifinals, the Canadian women finished in third place and didn’t advance to Sunday’s final. Korea won the heat with Russia in second place and France in fourth. Kim Boutin, of Sherbrooke, Que., joined Bélanger, Phaneuf and Gervais in the race.