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Speed Skating Canada – Dresden, Germany, February 5, 2016 – Charles and François Hamelin, Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais and Namasthée Harris-Gauthier all won every one of their races, Friday, to earn spots in the final rounds of their respective events slated over the weekend at the fifth stage of the World Cup season, held until Sunday in Dresden, Germany.

On the men’s side, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, finished first in each of the four heats he skated in and he qualified for Saturday’s 1000m semifinals, as well as for Sunday’s 500m quarterfinals.

“The day went very well, and in the 500m I came up with a pretty fast time, which will allow me to start from the first spot on the starting line on Sunday,” explained Charles Hamelin. “I’m really looking forward to the weekend, I feel great physically and I can’t wait to see what I’ll be able to do.”

François Hamelin, who is taking part in both 1500m events this weekend, also dominated his heats in qualifying rounds on Friday to earn a berth in the semifinals of both events. Hamelin won his first 1500m career medal, a bronze, at the Toronto World Cup last November.

“I was able to remain calm all day and I’m keeping up the good work I’ve done since the season started,” said François Hamelin. “Things are going well and I feel in control, although I’m a litle bit more tired than usual. We’ll be looking to build on today’s performances on Saturday and Sunday.”

Sasha Fathoullin, a 20-year-old skater from Calgary who is taking part in his third-ever World Cup, also qualified for the 1000m quarterfinals by winning both his qualification races, as well as for the 1500m (2) semifinals after taking second place in the heats.

“I’m definitely happy that I qualified, and most of all with the way I qualified – with a relaxed attitude,” said Fathoullin. “There are still things I want to work on, but it’s always nice to know that you can sleep in the next day and don’t have to worry about repechage, and just focus on recovering in time for the next race.”

Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, qualified for the 1000m quarterfinals while Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, will skate in the 1500m (1) semifinals. The two skaters, however, will have to go through repechage heats in the 500m event, Sunday, after respectively finishing third and fourth in the heats.

As for William Preudhomme of Toronto, ON, he was involved in a fall in the 1500m (1) with Hungarian skater Viktor Knoch, and he subsequently experienced headaches, forcing him give up on skating in the 1500m (2). Preudhomme is slated to take part in the 1500m (1) repechage heats on Saturday morning, but a decision will be taken before the competition starts.

“I have a little headache at the present time, but we don’t know if it’s a concussion or not. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow,” he said.

Four almost-perfect Canadian women

On the women’s side, Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais and Namasthée Harris-Gauthier also had a perfect day, as they won all of their races on Friday and qualified for the final rounds.

St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, who has won seven medals in eight individual races in four World Cup stages so far this season, seems poised to get back on the podium this weekend in Dresden. On Friday, she won all three of her qualification races to earn a spot in the quarterfinals of Saturday’s 1000m and Sunday’s 500m.

Valérie Maltais of La Baie, QC, also came out on top in her two races, qualifying for Saturday’s 1000m quarterfinals and Sunday’s 1500m (2) semifinals.

Skating at her fifth career World Cup, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier of Montreal (Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie borough), QC, won her heats in both 1500m events and she will be taking part in both semifinals in this distance, Saturday and Sunday.

“I’m happy I don’t have to go through repechage heats for once,” said Harris-Gauthier. “But most of all, I’m happy I raced well. Experience is starting to kick in: my decision-taking was better, I was more patient and it paid off.”

Kasandra Bradette of Saint-Félicien, QC, qualified for the 1500m (1) semifinals and the 500m quarterfinals, while Audrey Phaneuf of Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, earned a spot in the 500m quarterfinals, but will have to go through the repechage heats in the 1500m (1).

Jamie MacDonald of Fort St. James, B.C., was unable to directly access the finals rounds in the 1000m and 1500m (2) events, and will therefore skate in the repechage heats on Saturday and Sunday.

In the relay quarterfinals, the Canadian women’s team finished ahead of South Korea, which leads the World Cup overall standings, and qualified for Saturday’s semifinals.

In the men’s relay, Canada also won its quarterfinal heat to go ahead to the following round, finishing ahead of Russia and Hungary. China, which leads World Cup standings, was eliminated in its quarterfinal heat.

On Saturday, the final rounds in the 1000m and 1500m (1) events are scheduled, as well as the relay semifinals.

TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS

500m W

Marianne St-Gelais: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

Kasandra Bradette: second in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

Audrey Phaneuf: second in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

500m M

Charles Hamelin: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Sunday

Charle Cournoyer: third in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday morning

Samuel Girard: fourth in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday morning

1000m W

Marianne St-Gelais: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

Valérie Maltais: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

Jamie MacDonald: fourth in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday morning

1000m M

Charles Hamelin: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

Charles Cournoyer: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

Sasha Fathoullin: first in the heats and will take part in the quarterfinals Saturday

1500m (1) W

Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday 

Kasandra Bradette: second in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday

Audrey Phaneuf: fifth in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday morning

1500m (1) M

François Hamelin: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday

Samuel Girard: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Saturday

William Preudhomme: sixth in the heats and will take part in the repechage Saturday morning

1500m (2) W

Valérie Maltais: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday

Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday

Jamie MacDonald: third in the heats and will take part in the repechage Sunday morning

1500m (2) M

François Hamelin: first in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday

Sasha Fathoullin: second in the heats and will take part in the semifinals Sunday

William Preudhomme: did not take part in the heats and eliminated

Relay W

Canada: first in the quarterfinals and will take part in the semifinals Saturday
(Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, Audrey Phaneuf, Jamie MacDonald)

Relay M

Canada: first in the quarterfinals and will take part in the semifinals Saturday

(François Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer, Sasha Fathoullin)

More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.

                                                                        

About Speed Skating Canada

Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey. 

SSC is proud to be affiliated with partners that share the same vision and values including our premium sponsors Intact Insurance and Samsung, as well as our funding partners, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, and WinSport Canada.
 

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For information:

Patrick Godbout

Communications & Media Relations Manager

Speed Skating Canada

Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca

Phone: 514 213-9897

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