Hamelin wins silver in 500 metres

Charles Hamelin wins silver in 500 metres at Samsung ISU Short Track World Cup in Japan
Brampton Ontario Speed Skating Club receives $1,000 from Intact Insurance World Cup Podium Tracker

– Canadian Charles Hamelin was 18 one thousandths of a second away from winning his first gold medal of the season, but the Sainte-Julie, Que., native settled for his sixth consecutive medal this year to take silver in the 500 metres in a time of 41.332 seconds at the Samsung ISU World Cup #3 (results web site) at the Nippon Gaishi Arena in Nagoya, Japan.

Canada had skaters in three of four individual finals today and placed eight in the top 10 of the 500-metre and 1,500-metres races.

Hamelin reached the 500-metre final after winning both his quarterfinal and semifinal races. Skating with his younger brother François in the final, Charles finished in second place behind German Robert Seifert (41.314). American Travis Jayner claimed the bronze medal in 41.398 seconds, while François was fourth in 41.443 seconds.

Charles Hamelin now has four silver and two bronze World Cup medals on the season, having stood on the podium in each of his six races. He has a career total of 18 gold, 17 silver and 20 bronze medals in 44 World Cups.

“My day went really well. I was confident, my blades were running well and the ice seemed to glide better than yesterday and Friday,” said Hamelin. “I had a better start in the final than I did in the semifinal. It was tight when we got to the blocks and I lost a bit of speed as we bumped. As a result the Chinese skater (Dajing Wu) passed me in the straight. At that moment I had to race more defensively so I wasn’t passed again. I did retake Wu with a lap and a half left. I tried to pass the German (Robert Seifert) but he was protecting the inside and I didn’t have the legs to take him on the outside.

“I really liked my attitude in the race,” added Hamelin. “I was aggressive and showed that I could be versatile by passing on the inside and the outside.”

In the women’s 500 metres, Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, Que., was the top Canadian with a fourth place finish in the B final to rank eighth overall. Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., was eliminated in her quarterfinal heat to place 13th overall. China’s Meng Wang won gold in a time of 44.595 seconds. Her teammate Qiuhong won silver (45.111) and Korean Suk Hee Shim had the bronze medal (45.149).

Marie-Ève Drolet did not compete in today's 500 metres after suffering an injury during a hard fall in the 1,500-metre B final on Saturday. She will be available for the next World Cup in Shanghai, China, next weekend.

In the men’s 1,500-metre final, Michael Gilday of Yellowknife and Guillaume Bastille, of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., took fifth and sixth places, respectively. Gilday crossed the finish line in a time of 2:20.930 and Bastille had a time of 2:20.953. Jinkyu Noh of Korea won the gold medal in 2:19.492 with teammate Da Woon Sin earning the silver medal (2:19.550) and Dutch skater Sjinkie Knegt taking the bronze. Liam McFarlane, of Medicine Hat, Alta., took second place in the 1,500-metre B final to place ninth overall.

In the women’s 1,500 metres, Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que., was the only Canadian in the final finishing in fifth place in two minutes and 34.567 seconds. She was well positioned to medal, skating in third place going into the final lap. Dutch skater Jorien Ter Mors fell just in front of Maltais in the second last turn, so she had to avoid a collision. Soyoun Lee of Korea won the gold medal in 2:31.814, followed by Elise Christie of Great Britain (2:31.851) and Xue Kong of China (2:31.945).

“In the final with one lap to go, three of us were separating ourselves from the others,” said Maltais. “The girl from Great Britain (Elise Christie) had set a fast tempo to the race at that point. In the last lap, the Dutch skater (Jorien Ter Mors) attempted to pass but her blade stuck in the ice and she fell. I avoided her by going behind her, but at that point it was too late. I had gone too far on the outside to come back before the finish line.”

Jessica Hewitt of Kamloops, B.C., took 10th place overall in the 1,500 metres, after finishing in fourth spot in the 1,500-metre B final. Edmonton’s Jessica Gregg was 16th overall, after a sixth place finish in her semifinal heat.

Here is how Canada’s skaters fared today:

Marie-Ève Drolet of Laterrière, Que. (500 metres): Did not compete.
Jessica Gregg of Edmonton (second 1,500 metres): She finished 16th overall. She won her repechage heat to qualify for the semifinals, where she was eliminated after finishing sixth.
Jessica Hewitt of Kamloops, B.C. (second 1,500 metres): She finished 10th overall. She was fourth in her semifinal to advance to the B final, where she was fourth.
Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que. (second 1,500 metres): She finished fifth overall. She was second in the semifinals and then place fifth in the final.
Marianne St. Gelais of Saint-Félicien, Que. (500 metres): She finished eighth overall. She was second in her quarterfinal heat and then fourth in the semifinals to advance to the B final. She was fourth in the B final.
Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que. (500 metres): She finished 13th overall. She was fourth in her quarterfinal heat and did not advance.

Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, Que. (second 1,500 metres): He finished sixth overall. He was second in his semifinal heat to qualify for the final.
Michael Gilday of Yellowknife (second 1,500 metres): He finished fifth overall. He was second in his semifinal heat to qualify for the final.
Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que. (500 metres): He won the silver medal. He won his quarterfinal and semifinal heats to advance to the final.
François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que. (500 metres): He finished fourth overall. He won his quarterfinal heat and was interfered with in the semifinals to be advanced to the final.
Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que. (500 metres): He did not compete again today because of concussion-like symptoms.
Liam McFarlane of Medicine Hat, Alta. (second 1,500 metres): He finished ninth overall. He was fourth in his semifinal heat to advance to the B final, where he finished second.

In the relay, both the men’s and women’s teams won their B final races and ranked fifth overall. Maltais, St. Gelais, Hewitt and Truchon skated in today’s race for the women, while Bastille, Gilday, Charles Hamelin and Francois Hamelin represented the men.

The World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance stands at $23,000 (6 gold, 11 silver; 6 bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win. This season’s 22nd medal came today from Charles Hamelin, who won silver in the 500 metres in Japan, and the 23rd from Christine Nesbitt, who took the 1,500-metre gold in Kazakhstan. The Brampton Ontario Speed Skating Club and the Club de patinage de vitesse de Charlesbourg each will receive $1,000 from the program.