Two Medals for Canada in Taipei

Canadian junior short track speed skaters showed that they, too, could be dominant in the 500m when Mikhail Jeonghan Choi (Montreal, QC) and Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu (Sherbrooke, QC) took gold and silver respectively at the World Junior Championships in Taipei.

Throughout the day, the two Canadian skaters were never threatened, Gélinas-Beaulieu always led his races to cross the line first. “Everything went really well, I had great starts today, which helped me a lot as I was able to get ahead from the start. In all of my races, except in the final, I was able to start first and finish first,” said the 17 year old athlete.

Choi and Gélinas-Beaulieu on the podium in Taipei; Photo: Kenan Gouadec
Choi finished second of his first two heats, and then went on to win his quarter and semi-final rounds. In the final, he was first on the line, with Korean Noh Jinkyu, Gélinas-Beaulieu and Chinese Wu Dajing on his right. Choi and Gélinas-Beaulieu were first and second off from the start, and they played it safe to cross the finish in that order.

“Earlier this week I had problems with my blades,” explained Choi. “So I wasn’t able to fully focus, but today, I wasn’t thinking about it. I was patient in all my races, I had good starts and I stayed in front. I’m extremely happy, this is a great honour for me,” finished the skater who took a moment to thank his coaches and the medical staff that made the trip to Taipei with his team.

Pierre-Olivier Gagnon (Québec, QC) also had a good day, with strong races up to the end, but he was stopped in semi-final, for 7th place overall.

On the women side, Laurie Marceau (Dolbeau-Mistassini, QC) was the top Canadian with the 8th position. “I’m pretty happy with the result,” she said. “I was stressed out earlier today because of what happened yesterday, but after the first race, I got my confidence back. I would have loved to make the final, but my objective was to be in the semi-final, so I’m satisfied.”

Kristy Shoebridge (Cambridge, ON) and Sabrina Bourgela (Montreal, QC) both made it to the quarter final round, where they were eliminated for 13th and 16th place respectively.

The men’s relay team won their semi-final race ahead of Japan, while the women finished second to China, and both teams will have a shot at a medal in tomorrow’s final round. Skaters will also race the 1000m and Super 1500m tomorrow, on the last day of the World Junior Championships in Taipei.