NEWS: Qualification heats on day 1 of World Cup in China

NOTE: Here are results from the National Qualifier competition in Calgary for the 2012 Canadian Short Track Open Championship in Saguenay, Que., from Jan. 13-15. Qualifying races took place yesterday in the 500 metres and 1,500 metres. The men and women will compete in the 1,000 metres today to wrap-up the event. (Results: men, women)

OTTAWA – On the first day of the ISU World Cup (results web site) in Shanghai, China, Speed Skating Canada saw its short track skaters compete in the qualification rounds. Saturday’s medal races will see the 1,500 metres, the first of two 500-metre competitions and the men’s and women’s relay semi-finals. On Sunday, there will be the 1,000-metre and second 500-metre races, as well as the relay finals.

Canada’s skaters had the following results in their respective races:

Vanessa Bélanger-Marceau of Loretteville, Que., skated in two qualifying heats. In her 1,500-metre race, she finished fourth (2:37.757). Bélanger-Marceau will need to qualify for the quarter-finals through the repechage semi-finals. In the 1,000-metre distance, she will also take the repechage route after finishing fifth (2:10.707) in her heat.

Sabrina Bourgela of Montreal skated in two qualifying heats. In the 1,500 metres, she crossed the finish line fourth (2:30.714). Bourgela will also need to qualify through the repechage semi-finals. Skating to qualifying for the second 500-metre race, she finished second (44.435) in her heat to move on to the quarter-finals.

Kasandra Bradette of St. Félicien, Que., successfully skated in both 500-metre race heats to qualify for the two quarter-finals. In the first 500 metres, she crossed the line in second (44.944) place and was first (45.052) in her heat for the second 500-metre competition.

Montreal’s Andréa Do-Duc skated in two qualifying heats. In her first race in the 1,500 metres, she finished fourth (2:29.701). Do-Duc will need to qualify through the repechage semi-finals. In the 1,000 metres, Do-Duc was fifth (1:33.204), sending her again to the repechage rounds to qualify.

Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., was first in both her heats to qualify for the quarter-finals for the two 500-metre races. She crossed the line in 44.975 seconds in her heat for the first 500 metres and 44.686 for the second.

Gabrielle Waddell of Red Deer, Alta., placed second in both of her qualifying heats to move on to each quarter-final round. In the 500 metres, she crossed the line in 45.951 seconds, and then took 1:32.663 to finish the 1,000 metres.

Rémi Beaulieu of Alma, Que., took to the ice for three races today. While placing third in his heat for the 1,500 metres, his time of 2:19.070 was one of the fastest, allowing to move on to the semi-finals. Beaulieu skated in two races to qualify for the second 500-metre race quarter-finals. He was second in both the preliminary (42.033) and qualifying heat (41.529) rounds.

Competing in his second career World Cup, Charle Cournoyer of Longueuil, Que., successfully qualified for the 1,500-metre semi-finals and quarter-finals for the second 500-metre race. Crossing the finishing in 2:17.095, he finished second in his 1,500-metre heat. In the 500 metres, he won both his races coming in at 41.961 seconds in the preliminary round and 42.206 in the qualifying heat.

Competing in the first 500-metre race and the 1,000 metres, Michael Gilday of Yellowknife was on the ice four times today. He was second (41.800) in his preliminary round for the 500 metres, but fourth (42.271) in the qualifying heat. Gilday will need to through three repechage rounds to reach the quarter-finals. In the 1,500 metres, he won his preliminary round (1:28.431) and was third (1:28.713) in the heat. His third-place time was one of the fastest, sending him on to the quarter-finals.

Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., skated to first place finishes in each of his four races to qualify for the first 500-metre and 1,000-metre quarter-finals. He had times of 41.306 and 41.058 seconds in the 500 metres, and 1:28.815 and 1:26.469 in the 1,000 metres.

Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., qualified for the second 500-metre quarter-finals and 1,500-metre semi-finals. He won his 1,500-metre heat in 2:17.507, as well as his 500-metre preliminary round (41.603) and qualifying heat (41.503).

Quebec City’s Alexandre St. Jean qualified for the first 500-metre quarter-finals, but will have to compete in the repechage for his 1,000-metre distance. In his 500-metre preliminary round, he was second in a time of 42.059 seconds and third (42.500) in the heat. His third place finish was one of the fastest, qualifying him for the quarter-finals. Skating to third place (1:30.039) in the 1,000-metre preliminary round, St. Jean will have to compete through three repechage rounds to reach the quart-finals.

With eight countries registered for women’s 3,000-metre relay, there were no qualifying rounds today. Canada will face Korea, Russia and the United States in one semi-final on Saturday. The men’s team won their 5,000-metre heat in 6:59.491. They will be in one semi-final with China, Japan and Russia. Beaulieu, Cournoyer, Hamelin and Jean represented Canada.

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