St. Gelais & Hamelin win the 500 m at Canadian Open

Marianne St. Gelais and Charles Hamelin win the 500 m at 2013 Canadian Open Short Track Championships

– National team members Marianne St. Gelais, of St. Félicien, Que., and Charles Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Que., were today’s 500-metre champions at the 2013 Canadian Open Short Track Championships at Montreal’s Maurice-Richard Arena. The championships wrap-up Sunday, starting at 9:40 a.m., with the 1,000 metres, 3,000 metres and relays. (full results)

Looking again to earn top points from today’s 500-metre race, St. Gelais collected 1,000 points for her first place finish in a time of 43.574 seconds.

“It was the 500 (today). It’s a distance that I have confidence and that I control well,” said St. Gelais. “And we saw very well today the results I can get in the 500 metres. It’s a big weight off my shoulders that I also collected 1,000 points."

Valérie Maltais, of La Baie, Que., battled to pass her teammate throughout the race but had to settle for the silver medal (866 points) with a time of 43.732 seconds. The bronze medal, and 666 points, went to Valérie Lambert, of Sherbrooke, Que., who crossed the line in 45.516 seconds. After a fall early in the race, Gabrielle Waddell, of Red Deer, Alta., skated to fourth (543 points).

In the men’s 500-metre final, both Hamelin and silver medal medallist François-Louis Tremblay bounced back from not optimal results in Friday’s 1,500 metres. Hamelin defended his 500-metre title with a convincing win, leading from start to finish, in a time of 41.062 seconds.

“I didn’t have any bad luck (today). I didn’t fall and I had good races,” said Hamelin, who was first in each of his four races today. “I showed that I was the fastest on the ice today. It went well, a big final, a big victory that moves me back up in the ranking. I’m very relieved.”

Tremblay, of Alma, Que., took second place in 41.346. Charle Cournoyer, of Boucherville, Que., won the bronze medal (41.383), outpacing 1,500-metre champion Michael Gilday of Yellowknife, who was fourth (41.805).

National team member François Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Que., cut his left foot during the quarterfinals and will not compete the rest of the weekend.

Ranking and points earned from other national team members today in the 500 metres:

Men: Guillaume Bastille, of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., 14th, 70 points; Rémi Beaulieu, of Alma, Que., 6th, 362 points; François Hamelin, of Sainte-Julie, Que., 18th, 0 points; Liam McFarlane, of Medicine Hat, Alta., 5th, 443 points.

Women: Marie-Ève Drolet, of Laterrière, Que., 8th, 241 points; Jessica Gregg, of Edmonton, 5th, 443 points; Jessica Hewitt, of Kamloops, B.C., 6th, 362 points; Valérie Maltais, of La Baie, Que., 2nd, 816 points; Caroline Truchon, of Chicoutimi, Que., 7th, 295 points.

The championships serve as the main component for national team selection for the World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, from March 8 to 10. This team, including the substitute, will also compete in the final two World Cups – Sochi, Russia, from Feb. 1 to 3, and Dresden, Germany, from Feb. 8 to 10. Rankings are determined by using 80 per cent of the points earned during these championships and 20 per cent from the fall World Cup selections last September in Calgary.