Four top 5 finishes today for Canada at the World Junior Championships

Four top 5 finishes today for Canada at the World Junior Championships

– On the last day of the Essent ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Obihiro, Japan, Canada had four top five finishes. The championship ended today with the men’s 1,000 metres, the women’s second 500-metre race and men’s and women’s team pursuit.

After winning the combined two-race 500-metre title on Saturday, Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que., skated to a fourth place finish in the 1,000 metres in a time of one minute and 11.32 seconds. The 19-year-old was only 0.02 seconds from Tommi Pulli of Finland for the bronze medal (1:11.30). Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia took gold (1:10.79) and Havard Lorentzen of Norway claimed the silver medal (1:11.24).

“When you aim for a podium finish or even victory it’s (a fourth place finish) disappointing,” said Dubreuil, competing in his third and last World Junior Championship. “I still had a good race and there were only three skaters stronger than me today. It will motivate my training to know that I wasn’t the best today. I will train harder next year.”

In her second 500-metre race this weekend, Calgary’s Kate Hanly came in second place in a time of 39.77 seconds. Her combined score of 79.83 seconds (40.06 and 39.77) put her in fifth place for the two-race cumulative. She was 0.93 seconds behind gold medalist Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic (79.90: 39.63 and 39.27).

“Today’s 500 felt better than the one on Friday. I felt like I got off the (starting) line a little quicker,” said the 18-year competing in her fourth World Junior Championship. “It was pretty nice to finish second, that was a confidence booster. Overall I came fifth - that was my goal coming in. It gives me some confidence moving into next year.”

Audio (MP3) and photos: Dubreuil (French), Hanly (English). Photos by Arno Hoogveld are available now at SSC’s Facebook page.

Heather McLean of Winnipeg was ninth in today’s 500 metres crossing the finish line in 40.35 seconds. She place 11th overall (81.36) after two races. Quebec City’s Mèryem Labidi was 19th (41.78) in the second 500 metres and 20th overall (83.58), while Josie Spence, Kamloops, B.C., was 23rd (42.08) in today’s race and overall (84.02).

The women’s team pursuit squad reached the final with a third place finish in the qualifications with a time of three minutes and 15.52 seconds. Hanly, McLean and Spence teamed-up again in the final to finish in fourth place (3:16.02) behind gold medalist South Korea (3:07.36), Japan in second (3:13.67) and Russia in third (3:14.41).

Also competing in the men’s 1,000 metres were 16-year-olds Stefan Dilger of Calgary and Alexandre Déry of Lévis, Que. Dilger was 21st with a time of one minute and 15.13 seconds, and Déry was 29th (1:16.62).

Brothers François and Alexandre Déry and Daniel Dubreuil represented Canada in the men’s team pursuit. They finished ninth in the qualification round in a time of four minutes and 8.82 seconds, and didn’t qualify for the four-team final. Norway won gold (3:54.02) followed by South Korea (3:55.69) and the Netherlands (3:56.34).