Five medals for Canada at international short track speed skating competition

Canada’s national development team members scooped up five of the six medals in Thursday’s 1,500-metre races at the 18-country Alta Valtelina Trophy short track speed skating competition.

In the men’s 1,500, five of the six finalists were from Canada. Olivier Jean of Montreal took the gold medal clocking two minutes and 16.050 seconds with Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., second in 2:16.250 and Mathieu Giroux of Montreal third in 2:16.440. Rémi Beaulieu of Montreal was fourth in 2:18.110 and Olympic team nominee Steve Robillard of Montreal fifth in 2:20.730.

‘’At a meet like this my goal is to work on my strategies,’’ said Jean, 21. ‘’We’ve just come off a training camp and I was feeling pretty tired but I still I worked well. We’re here gaining some good international experience on the ice and learning about managing competitions and overseas travel.’’

The development team members had a training camp in France last week. They are in Bormio with the Olympic team nominees who are tuning up for next week’s World Cup here which will be the first of two Olympic qualifying events to determine the eight countries which will compete in short tack at the Turin Games in February. Most of the Olympic team nominees will race the relays here this weekend.

In the women’s 1,500, Stéphanie Bouvier of France took the gold in 2:27.580 edging Annik Plamondon of Longueuil, Que., second in 2:27.800 while Nita Avrith of Montreal was third in 2:28.020. Olympic team nominee Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., was fifth in 2:28.820.

Raphaele Lemieux of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., Mélanie Gagnon of Montreal and Jessica Gregg of Edmonton were eliminated in the semifinals and ranked 14th, 15th and 17th.

Competition continues Friday.