St-Gelais & Hamelin Win Again at Short Track Selections

Marianne St-Gelais (St-Félicien, QC) and Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, QC) started the second day of the Short Track Fall World Cup Selections the same way they had started the first, with victories in the first distance, the 1000m. Marie-Andrée Mendes-Campeau (Montréal, QC) and Michael Gilday (Yellowknife, NT) went on to win the 1500m races later in the afternoon.

Today allowed a few skaters to give themselves an edge in trying to qualify for the Fall World Cup events. Once racers have all raced each distance twice, their top two distances will be taken into consideration and the best three men and women based on those points will be selected to race the World Cups. Speed Skating Canada’s (SSC) High Performance Short Track Committee will select the rest of the team, for a total of six men and six women.

The 1000m women’s final showcased St-Gelais, Marie-Ève Drolet (Laterrière, QC), Jessica Hewitt (Kamloops, BC) and Valérie Maltais (La Baie, QC). There were many changes in position in the first four laps, everyone trying to take the lead. With 4 laps to go, Hewitt went ahead, but St-Gelais was quick to get back in the front of the pack, and she crossed the finish line for her second victory this weekend in 1:30.098. Drolet managed to take the second position in 1:30.190. Maltais followed (1:30.271) and Hewitt was fourth (1:30.522).

The Hamelin brothers, Charles and François, were up against Michael Gilday and Maxime Fortin in the men’s final. Once again, everyone was fighting for the lead. Gilday and François Hamelin took turns in the front for the majority of the race, but Charles went with one of his powerful outside passes with less than two laps left to fly with the victory in 1:25.341. Just as he did in yesterday’s 1500m race, François followed his brother to the finish line (1:25.474). Gilday took third place in 1:25.658 and Fortin was disqualified for charging while trying a pass early in the race.

Mendes-Campeau in the 1500m final, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
Once again, familiar faces were on the start line of the women’s 1500m final, with Maltais, Hewitt, St-Gelais and Drolet making their second final of the day. They were joined by Mendes-Campeau and Albertan skater Gabrielle Waddell. The race was well underway when Marie-Ève Drolet tried a risky inside pass and fell, bringing St-Gelais down with her. The race was stopped as St-Gelais was not getting up, but it was more fright than harm. The race started again later, without Drolet, who got disqualified for charing, and St-Gelais, not allowed to race again.

In the re-skate, Waddell took the lead with seven laps to go, followed by Hewitt, Mendes-Campeau and Maltais. Three laps later, all skaters tried to reposition themselves better, and Mendes-Campeau came out in the front, where she cruised to the finish in 2:40.343. Maltais followed in 2:40.412, while Hewitt took third place (2:41.123) and Waddell fourth (2:41.126).

The 1500m final was a fourth one in a row for the Hamelin brothers. Gilday, Olivier

Michael Gilday is chased by Hamelin, Jean, Tremblay and Beaulieu in the men's 1500m final, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
Jean (Lachenaie, QC), François-Louis Tremblay (Boucherville, QC) and Rémi Beaulieu (Alma, QC) were also on the start line. Jean led the first 5 laps of the race, before Tremblay came from the back to take the lead midway through the race. Gilday went to the front with six laps to go, while François Hamelin fell. Charles Hamelin then decided to make his move, but there was a lot of action between him, Gilday and Jean in the last few laps, and it’s Gilday that crossed the finish line first with a time of 2:12.777. Jean was right behind in 2:12.794, Hamelin had to settle for third (2:13.068), Tremblay for fourth (2:13.092) and Beaulieu finished fifth (2:13.203).

Tomorrow will be the last day of competition at the Calgary Olympic Oval, with the 500m race starting at 9:30am. It will be followed by the last 1000m race. Half of the Fall World Cup Team should be announced tomorrow afternoon, as they will be selected based on their results at this competition, and the rest of the team will be named in the coming weeks.