Canada Takes 5 More Medals at World Junior Short Track Championships

Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu (Sherbrooke, QC) added three silver medals to his collection, today, at the World Junior Short Track Championships in Taipei, where he finished 2nd overall. Gélinas-Beaulieu first took silver in the 1000m, before finishing secondd of the Super 1500m and with his teammates in the relay. Laurie Marceau (Dolbeau-Mistassini, QC) added to the Canadian harvest with a bronze medal in the 1000m, followed by a third place finish with her relay team.

“Today, I knew I had to start slow so I could keep my energy for the end,” reflected Gélinas-Beaulieu at the end of the day. “Last year I remember how tough it was and this time around, I wanted to make sure I still had good legs for the final.”

Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu won four silver medals in Taipei; Photo: Kenan Gouadec
Gélinas-Beaulieu and Mikhail Jeonghan Choi (Montreal, QC) were hoping for a repeat of yesterday’s 500m in the 1000m final, in which they were facing two Korean skaters. “Our strategy was to be in the front and not let the Koreans lead, because if they’re both ahead, it’s tough to pass them,” explained Choi. So when a Korean skater took off in front of the pack, Choi, who was just behind, felt he had no choice but to pass him. “I did a very tight inside pass, there was a contact going into the corner and we fell, so I was disqualified,” he finished.

Gélinas-Beaulieu took advantage of the two athletes ahead of him falling to take the lead. “I wasn’t too sure what to do,” he said afterwards. “I didn’t want to relax too much because the other Korean behind me was catching up, so I kept a good pace, but then he passed me easily at the end since I had used up so much energy.” So Korean Noh Jinkyu took the gold medal, followed by Gélinas-Beaulieu and Korean Park Seyeong. Pierre-Olivier Gagnon (Québec, QC) was eliminated in semi-final for 7th place.

Having achieved enough points through the weekend, both Choi and Gélinas-Beaulieu were able to skate the Super 1500m. The skaters being quite tired at that point, they decided to take it easy at first to keep their energy for the final sprint. With three laps to go, Gélinas-Beaulieu, then in fifth place, started accelerating on the outside and managed to get to the second position. Park Seyeong won the race in 2:23.295, followed by Gélinas-Beaulieu in 2:23.550 and Korean Kim Sunghan (2:24.205). “This was one of the best races of my career,” he smiled afterwards. “I had a good strategy and I executed it very well, I’m really proud of it!” Teammate Choi finished sixth. Gélinas-Beaulieu concludes the competition in 2nd place, Choi in 4th and Gagnon 14th.

On the women side, Marceau made her way to the 1000m final, where she was facing three Korean skaters. “I knew I couldn’t let them go to the front, otherwise I would have no chance. Kenan [Gouadec, her coach] told me to jump on any occasion to go to the front early in the race,” she explained. And that’s what she did, taking the lead right away. With six laps to go, Korean Choi Jihyun passed her, and then Song Jaewon tried to pass as well but touched Marceau, who fell, and Song was disqualified. Lee Mi-Yeon was able to get to second place due to the fall, so the Canadian takes the bronze medal.

Sabrina Bourgela (Montreal, QC) was eliminated in semi-final for 6th place, while Kristy Shoebridge (Cambridge, ON) did not make it past the quarter final, and ends up 20th. Marceau was the lone Canadian in the Super 1500m, in which the Korean skaters swept the podium. Marceau finished 5th in the race. In the overall rankings, Marceau is 6th, Bourgela 11th and Shoebridge 14th.

In the relay, the men were hoping for a gold medal, but the Koreans took off

The relay teams posing with their medals; Photo: Kenan Gouadec
extremely fast. “I think they were trying for a world record,” said Choi. “The whole race, we were trying to catch up with them.” But that proved impossible for the Canadians, who are still very proud of their silver medal. Korea finished the race in 4:06.934, followed by Canada in 4:15.713 and Japan in 4:16.320.

The women were facing teams from Korea, China and Italy. “The Korean and Chinese managed to create a gap, but the Italians were right behind us,” said Laurie Marceau. “So we had to keep a good pace to secure our third place. The Italians fell with 5 or 6 laps to go, so that allowed us to relax a bit, otherwise it would have been very close at the finish!”. Korea took gold once again and China silver.

Overall, the Canadian team is very satisfied with its performance in Taipei. The athletes are coming back with a total of seven medals, 1 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze, but only one skater (Gélinas-Beaulieu) had previous experience at the World Junior Championships. “This is a very young team,” said coach Kenan Gouadec. “Most of the athletes, except for Kristy and Sabrina, will still be junior skaters next year, so it’s very promising to see what they were able to accomplish here. We had a tough first day, but I’m proud of how everyone was able to bounce back and be strong for the rest of the events.”