Tremblay wins gold at short track speed skating World Cup

François-Louis Tremblay of Boucherville, Que., earned Canada’s first individual gold medal this season Saturday as he won an action-packed men’s 500-metre race at the second stop on the World Cup short track speed skating circuit.

Tremblay, a member of Canada’s Olympic champion relay squad last season, clocked 42.169 seconds to edge two-time world champion Jiajun Li of China second in 42.271. Both skaters exchanged the lead four times. Suk-Woo Song of South Korea was third in 42.271 and Sebastian Praus of Germany fourth in 42.754.

"It was a great race to be involved in," said Tremblay, 21, whose last World Cup wins were two seasons ago. "It was clean race from start to finish. I managed to hang on to the lead on the last turn. It’s great to have an opportunity again to win these races."

Éric Bédard of Ste-Thècle, Que., and Jean-François Monette of Montreal were eliminated in the semifinals for seventh and eighth respectively.

In a tight women’s 500, world record holder Evgenia Radanova of Bulgaria took the gold in 44.718. Tianyu Fu of China was second in 44.738, Meng Wang of China was third in 44.838 and Amélie Goulet-Nadon of Laval, Que., fourth in 44.902. It was a first individual final for a Canadian woman this season.

Annie Perreault of Rock Forest, Que., was eliminated in the semifinal and placed eighth and Chantale Sévigny of Sherbrooke, Que., was 15th.

Canada qualified for the finals in both the men’s and women’s relay.

In the men’s 5,000 relay, Canada won its heat with Monette, Bédard, Jonathan Guilmette of Montreal and Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke. South Korea, Canada’s chief rival, was disqualified in its heat.

In the women’s 3,000 relay, the Canadians advanced by placing second in their heat with Goulet-Nadon, Sévigny, Tania Vicent of Montreal and Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, B.C.

The relay finals are Sunday along with the men’s and women’s 1,000 and 3,000 metre events.

Saturday’s results at a World Cup short track speed skating competition in Beijing:


500: 1. François-Louis Tremblay, Boucherville, Que., 42.169; 2. Jiajun Li, China, 42.231; 3. Suk-Woo Song, South Korea, 42.271; 4. Sebastian Praus, Germany, 42.754.

Also: 7. Éric Bédard, Ste-Thècle, Que.; 8. Jean-François Monette, Montreal.

Entries: 34


500: 1. Evgenia Radanova, Bulgaria, 44.718; 2. Tianyu Fu, China, 44.738; 3. Meng Wang, China, 44.838; 4. Amélie Goulet-Nadon, Laval, Que., 44.902.

Also: 8. Annie Perreault, Rock Forest, Que.; 15. Chantale Sévigny, Sherbrooke, Que.

Entries: 26