Short track team confirmed for World Championships

Canadian short track team confirmed for World Championships in China
Bastille, Hamelin, Jean, Drolet and Maltais to skate individual distances

MONTREAL – Speed Skating Canada confirmed today the short track team to represent Canada at the 2012 ISU World Championships in Shanghai, China, from March 9 to 11.

The SSC short track high performance committee needed to name the second woman, from the five already selected, to skate the individual distances, and confirm the alternate for the men’s team, as well as identify the third individual distances skater.

The team named on Jan. 22 following the Canadian Open Championships in January included Michael Gilday of Yellowknife, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., and Liam McFarlane of Medicine Hat, Alta., for the men. Marie-Ève Drolet of Laterrière, Que., Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que., Marianne St. Gelais of St. Félicien, Que., Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., and Gabrielle Waddell of Red Deer, Alta., were chosen to represent the women.

Hamelin, Jean and Gilday, who finished first, second and third, respectively, at the national championships in Saguenay, were to skate in the individual distances. A season-ending shoulder injury to Gilday on Jan. 30 before the World Cup in Moscow meant the committee had to select another skater for the individual distances and add one to round-out the five-man squad.

Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., and François-Louis Tremblay of Alma, Que., join Hamelin, Jean and McFarlane. Bastille, who won a gold medal in the 1,000 metres at the World Cup in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, last weekend, will skate the individual distances while Tremblay will be available for the relay.

On the women’s side, only Maltais was guaranteed to skate for one of the two individual spots. Joining her will be Drolet, who was second at the Canadian Open Championships and won the silver medal in the second 1,000-metre race at the last World Cup of the season in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, from Feb. 10-12.

The high performance committee had identified St. Gelais for the women’s second position, but the 22-year-old withdrew from racing the four distances. After missing the Canadian championships in mid-January because of a back injury, St. Gelais did compete in the last two World Cups in February to continue her rehab. While available for the relay at the World Championships, she could not commit to competing in up to 15 races over a three-day period.

The Canadian short track team for the 2012 World Championship:

Men skating in the individual distances (500 metres, 1,000, 1,500 and *3,000): Bastille, Hamelin, Jean.
Additional men available for the 5,000-metre relay (semifinal and final): McFarlane, Tremblay.

Women skating in the individual distances (500 metres, 1,000, 1,500 and *3,000): Drolet, Maltais.
Additional women available for the 3,000-metre relay (semifinal and final): St. Gelais, Truchon, Waddell.

* The 3,000-metre race is skated by the top eight athletes, achieving finals points after the other three distances.