NEWS: Qualification heats on day 1 of the ISU Short Track World Cup in Saguenay, Que.

SAGUENAY, Que. – On the first day today of the ISU World Cup in Saguenay, Que., Speed Skating Canada saw its 12 skaters compete in the qualification rounds to advance in their distances. Saturday’s medal races will see the 1,500-metre, the first of two 500-metre competitions and the men’s and women’s relay semifinals. On Sunday, there will be the 1,000-metre and second 500-metre races, as well as the relay finals. For the women’s first 500-metre race on Saturday, Marianne St. Gelais of St. Félicien, Que., Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., and Gabrielle Waddell of Red Deer, Alta., qualified for the quarterfinals. For the men’s first 500-metre, Charles Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, Que., Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., and François-Louis Tremblay from Alma, Que., also advanced to the quarterfinals. For Sunday’s 500-metre event, Truchon, Waddell and Jessica Hewitt of Kamloops, B.C., qualified for the women, and for the men it was Tremblay, Guillaume Bastille from Rivière-du-Loup, Que., and François Hamelin from Sainte-Julie, Que., moving on to the quarterfinals in the second 500-metre. In the qualifications for Sunday’s 1,000-metre race, the three Canadian women and three men entries advanced to the quarterfinals. For the women, it will be St. Gelais, Marie-Ève Drolet of Laterrière, Que., and Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que. Jean, Charles Hamelin and Michael Gilday of Yellowknife will represent the men. In the women’s 1,500-metre, Drolet, Hewitt and Maltais qualified for the Saturday’s semifinals. For the men, only François Hamelin moved on directly to the semifinals. Gilday fell in his heat and will have to qualify through the repechage. Bastille was penalized and eliminated from further rounds at this distance. The men’s relay team qualified for the semifinals on Saturday. Bastille, Jean, Charles Hamelin and François Hamelin skated in the relay. The women did not have a qualification round for their semifinals. - end -