Roberge Covered in Gold at Home, Bastille & Hamelin Win Bronze

Québec, February 2, 2008 – Kalyna Roberge (St-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC) didn’t make anyone wait and she won gold in her first distance, the 1000m, at the 5th stop of the Short Track World Cup Circuit at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse, in Québec City. Guillaume Bastille (Rivière-du-Loup, QC), who is skating in his first ever World Cup event, and Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC) respectively won the bronze medal in the 1000m and 1500m.

All six Canadian athletes were on the ice in the afternoon, as Tania Vicent (Laval, QC), Anne Maltais (Québec, QC) and Valérie Lambert (Sherbrooke, QC) all qualified through the repêchage in the morning.

The crowd cheered loudly for Roberge. In the final, she was facing three powerful opponents: Koreans Seung-Hi Park and Sae-Bom Shin, as well as Bulgarian Evgenia Radanova. The Canadian skater started second, and an inside pass with six and a half laps to go gave her the lead. Two laps later, Shin passed her but Roberge was then able to stay strong and close the door to the many passing attempts of both Park and Radanova. She crossed the finish line in second position, but Shin was disqualified which gave her the gold, while Radanova got silver and Park the bronze.

“I knew I could skate well, but I wasn’t shooting for a podium this weekend,” explained Roberge after her race. “I wanted to break the Korean wall, I didn’t want to allow them to both lead the race, and that worked well. What gives me the most confidence is to see that they are now scared of me, it’s not the other way around anymore.” Other Canadians skating in the 1000m, Jessica Gregg and Anne Maltais, respectively finished 5th and 13th.

Guillaume Bastille, Photo: Simon Pichette
Guillaume Bastille took many by surprise when he won the bronze in the 1000m. Pushed around by English skater Jon Eley at the beginning of his semi-final race, he was advanced to the final, where he had to start fifth on the line. The final race was a very physical race, and Bastille crossed the line fifth, but two athletes were disqualified so he took the bronze. Korean skater Si-Bak Sung and Chinese Ye Li won gold and silver.

“I didn’t have any objective in terms of performance,” explained a radiant Bastille waiting to get his medal. “I wanted to skate as best as I could, take one race after the other without thinking of the next, just like I did at the Canadian Championship. It’s harder here as I don’t know my opponents, but my coach helped me a lot for that.” Jean-François Monette (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) won the B final for 6th place, and François Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC) was 14th.

Charles Hamelin won the third Canadian medal in the men’s 1500m final, a very busy race in which Steve Robillard (Montréal, QC) was also skating. The race offered a great show, with numerous passes and the Canadians often traded places with French skater Maxime Châtaignier, American Jordan Malone and the two Koreans. Ho-Suk Lee finally crossed the finish line first, followed by Seung-Hoon Lee and Hamelin. Robillard was sixth, and the other Canadian in that distance, Marc-André Monette (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) settled for 10th.

In the women’s 1500m, Amanda Overland (Montréal, QC) won the B final for 7th, Valérie Lambert was 12th and Tania Vicent 15th. In the last races of the day, the two Canadian relay teams qualified for the final. The women were second of their heat, behind Korea, and the men won theirs in front of China.

Tomorrow, Jean-François Monette (500m), Guillaume Bastille (1000m) and Valérie Lambert (1000m) will have to get up early to skate in the repêchage, and other Canadians will be on the ice at 2:30pm for the start of the quarter final rounds. The relay finals will be held at the end of the day at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse.