Canadian Men Dominate 1000m at Beijing Short Track World Cup

Canada had another strong showing on the second day of qualifications at the Beijing Short Track World Cup. All three men skating the 1000m dominated their heats and qualified easily for Sunday’s quarter final rounds, while two of their women teammates were also able to qualify. Canada’s relay team then went on to ensure their spot for the next rounds as well.

Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC), world record holder in the distance, showed he could be dominant and posted the fastest time in the 1000m (1:26.950). Brother François Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC), who achieved a podium result along with Charles in the distance last season at the Vancouver World Cup, also impressed with the fifth fastest time (1:27.600).

The Hamelin brothers, as well as François-Louis Tremblay (Montréal, QC), a 500m specialist, showed strenght, speed and consistency in both of their races on the distance and took the first place each time, ensuring their spot for Sunday’s quarter final rounds. With all the top skaters in the world present at the competition and skating their strongest events, these results are very encouraging for Team Canada.

On the women side, Jessica Gregg (Edmonton, AB) won her first round before taking second place in the next one, while Kalyna Roberge (St-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC) was a close second to Korean Cho Ha-Ri in her first race and went on to win her next one. Both skaters will be on the start line for the quarter final rounds on Sunday.

Tania Vicent (Laval, QC) was in the fastest qualifying round, and while it was a close race, the Canadian veteran was not able to qualify, as she finished third in 1:35.939, behind American Allison Baver (1:35.300) and Japanese skater Mika Ozawa (1:35.729). With this year’s new format of competition, Vicent will not have another chance to skate the 1000m this weekend, so she now has to focus solely on the relay.

Vicent and Gregg were then joined by Marianne St-Gelais (St-Félicien, QC) and Valérie Maltais (La Baie, QC) for the first round of the relay. They took first place of their heat, ahead of Hungary and Russia. Maltais was replaced with Roberge for the semi-final race, and Canada’s team managed to qualify for Sunday’s A final when they finished second to China (4:18.982 vs 4:15.249).

The Hamelin brothers skated the first round of the men’s relay along with Olivier Jean (Lachenaie, QC) and Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC). Canada’s men’s relay team won the World Cup title last season, and they had a strong showing, with a first place ahead of the Netherlands and France in their first round. They went on to finish close second to the United States in the quarter final (6:49.900 vs 6:49.724), and both teams will get a re-match in semi-final action on Sunday.

Competition continues tomorrow in Beijing, when Roberge, St-Gelais, Gregg, Charles Hamelin, Jean and Tremblay will all take part in the 500m quarter final rounds. It will be a long day for Roberge, St-Gelais, Jean and Hamelin as they will also have to race the 1500m events, joined by Bastille and Maltais.