Kali Christ, Vincent de Haitre win 1,500m races at Fall Long Track ISU World Cups Selections

Kali Christ of Regina and Vincent de Haitre of Cumberland, Ont., who both made their Olympic debuts in Sochi, Russia last February, won the 1,500m races Thursday, on the opening day of Speed Skating Canada’s Fall Long Track ISU World Cups Selections at the Calgary Olympic Oval.

Christ finished the women's race in one minute, 57.09 seconds. Josie Spence of Kamloops, B.C., was second in 1:59.65 while Kate Hanly of Calgary took third in 2:00.54.

On the men's side, de Haitre won in 1:44.75, followed by Tyler Derraugh of Winnipeg in 1:45.48 and Alec Janssens of Chilliwack, B.C., in 1:46.13. All three achieved personal bests.

“I’m pretty happy about it,” said de Haitre, who turned 20 in June. “It’s nice to know that even though I was cycling all summer, I can come back and skate properly.”

De Haitre spent the summer on the cycling track and competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Janssens spent the summer training with both the University of Victoria and National Development Centre rowing teams.

De Haitre admitted that cycling all summer made it hard to make the transition back to skating.

“I definitely learned how to push myself and focus on things I need to work on. Coming back from cycling, although it’s the same muscles, you use them in a different way. Your body kind of goes: ‘What the heck are you doing to me?’ ”

Christ was hoping to approach her personal best of 1:55.35, but a recent groin injury put her a week behind in training and forced her to skip a 1,500m time trial leading up to the World Cup selections. This was her first 1,500m of the year.

“The week we were supposed to start getting into our speed and endurance training, I had to take a few days off,” said Christ, who will turn 24 on November 9. “I was hoping to get into the 1:56s, but 1:57 isn’t too far off.”

Speed Skating Canada training squad member Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa set a personal best of 2:01.73 while finishing fourth.

Absent from the women’s 1,500m on Thursday was Brianne Tutt of Airdrie, Alberta, due to an ankle injury. She has asked for an injury bye onto the fall team in the 1500m, the distance she skated in at the 2014 Olympics.

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., who won a bronze medal in the 1,500m at the 2014 Winter Olympics, did not skate Thursday. He has pre-qualified for the fall World Cups in the 1,500m along with the 1,000m, in which he took silver in Sochi last February. Morrison is expected to race the 5,000m Friday and the 1,000m on Sunday.

Derraugh is back training with Morrison’s coach Bart Schouten after skating for CBA professional team in Norway the past two years. He is happy with the start to his season.

“The guys in our training group are great and it's going very well,” he said.

Skaters are attempting to qualify for the first four ISU Long Track World Cups in Obihiro, Japan (Nov. 14-16), Seoul, South Korea (Nov. 21-23), Berlin, Germany (Dec. 5-7), and Heerenveen, Netherlands (Dec. 12-14).   

Canada has four quota spots in both 1,500m events for those events.

Based on the Canadian team selection criteria for the fall World Cups, Morrison is the only one pre-selected for the 2014 Fall World Cup team, as he was the only athlete who placed among the top 5 at the 2014 Olympic Games in one or more individual distances.

Other skaters, including a minimum of eight women and eight men, will be selected based on their results at the fall World Cups, up to a maximum of 20 athletes.

The trials continue Friday with the women’s 3,000m and men’s 5,000m starting at 1 p.m., local time. Admission at the Calgary Olympic Oval is free.

Full results: www.speedskating.ca.

About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 13,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsor Intact Insurance, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.

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For information:
Jeff MacKinnon    
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Email: jmackinnon@speedskating.ca
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Patrick Godbout
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Speed Skating Canada
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Phone: 514 213-9897
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