Marianne St-Gelais and Charle Cournoyer skate to a national title in the 1500m at the 2017 Canadian Senior Championships
Speed Skating Canada – Montreal, January 13, 2017 – Marianne St-Gelais and Charle Cournoyer earned the first national titles up for grabs at the 2017 Canadian Senior Championships, Friday, by skating to victory in the 1500m events at the competition which will be held until Sunday at Montreal’s Maurice Richard Arena.
In the women’s 1500m, Marianne St-Gelais of Saint-Félicien, QC, won her third straight Canadian title in the distance by finishing ahead of Kim Boutin from Sherbrooke, QC, and Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, La Baie borough, QC.
“After overtaking from fourth spot with five laps to go, I was pretty confident that I would be able to stay ahead and would go on to win the race,” said St-Gelais.
“Each race is important leading up to the World Championships and the Olympic trials that are coming up, in part because it’s the last competition before these trials and the different finals should look a lot like what will happen at the trials,” she added. “I don’t just look at the Canadian Championships; I’m also looking at the races a little further down the road, always with a different perspective on things as if they were other athletes.”
Boutin tried to catch up to St-Gelais over the last few laps of the race, to no avail.
“I got caught up in the back when Marianne took off and I was really far behind. I worked real hard to go get her, but there was nothing I could do,” she said. “I made some little mistakes. I knew she was going to go for it. I worked hard, but it wasn’t enough.”
Maltais found her way back on the podium in the 1500m, after settling for sixth and seventh place in this distance over the last two editions of the Canadian Senior Championships.
“It feels good to be back on the podium in the 1500m, because that’s my distance,” said Maltais. “Not being able to be among the best in Canada, it’s not fun. It’s a much better feeling to be on the podium. Today, I was back on that podium and it feels good.”
“Today, I remained calm and it paid off,” she added. “My goals were more focused on tactical and technical aspects rather than on results. I think I made the mistake, over the last few months, of getting too caught up in results which weren’t coming and I think I’ve found the right path to follow.”
Cournoyer avoids trouble and wins
On the men’s side, Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, won the Canadian championship title in the 1500m, after coming with a national title in the 1000m distance last year. Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, QC, collected the silver medal, followed by Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, who earned bronze.
“There was a lot of action, from everybody. As for me, I was able to stay away from all that,” said Charle Cournoyer. “With about six laps to go, I wasn’t very well positioned, I was fourth. But I was able to gain ground and I took advantage of the contact between Charles (Hamelin) and Sam (Girard) to end up first during the last lap. It was a good first day.”
Guillaume Bastille was back on the podium after winning his last medal at the Canadian Championships in 2015, a silver in the 500m. Last year, the 31-year-old Olympic medalist only took part in one competition after undergoing surgery to the shoulder.
“It’s a great result. By finishing second, I couldn’t ask for more, except the win of course. I’m quite satisfied with the points I picked up today,” said Guillaume Bastille. “Things were far from being a given for me, even as early as the first round. It was tough. In my mind, racing at the Canadian Championships comes down to mistakes. The one who makes the least mistakes over the weekend will come out on top. Today, I made a few mistakes, but things turned out well.”
Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, saw a second-place result be taken away when he was penalized for interference.
“We were seven good skaters out there and it was to be expected that all kinds of things would happen in that race. That’s what happened, notably with two clashes between me and Charles,” Girard pointed out.
“I came prepared to this competition, more so than at the Fall World Cup Selections. I was a little tense when I came here, I felt good tension, I was ready and had the desire to win and to race. I’m glad I was able to feel that again. That’s what I lacked when I was in Asia.”
The 500m races are slated for Saturday.
The top 64 short track skaters in Canada are competing this weekend, notably to try and qualify for international senior competitions scheduled later this winter, including the 2017 ISU Short Track World Championships.
Admission is $5 per day or $10 for the three-day event, and free for kids six years of age or less. Tickets are available online at www.speedskating.ca or at the door.
Races at the 2017 Short Track Canadian Championships are webcast on the Facebook page of the Fédération de patinage de vitesse du Québec. The exact links are available at www.speedskating.ca, where the event schedule can also be found.
More information, including the full schedule, is available on Speed Skating Canada’s website at 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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