William Dandjinou wins bronze in 1500m; Renee Steenge finishes just off podium
BEIJING, CHINA – Canada kicked off the ISU World Cup Short Track in Beijing – their first international competition since early November – by earning a pair of medals on Saturday morning, as Jordan Pierre-Gilles won gold in the 500m-1 and Willam Dandjinou captured bronze in the 1500m.
Trailing a pair of Chinese skaters during the first few laps of the 500m-1 final, Pierre-Gilles (Sherbrooke, Que.) took advantage of a collision between race leaders Liu Shaoang and Lin Xiaojun, passing the duo after they got tangled up during the third lap to move into the top spot and cruise to victory in 40.711.
It was the 25-year-old’s third career World Cup medal in an individual distance, having also won 500m gold on home ice in Montreal this past October. He was joined on the podium in Beijing by France’s Quentin Fercoq (40.875) and Jens van ‘T Wout of the Netherlands (41.280).
Meanwhile, Dandjinou (Montreal, Que.) continued his medal streak by earning his third World Cup podium in as many weekends, this time with bronze in the 1500m.
The 22-year-old looked to have the legs to challenge for gold but stumbled while attempting an outside pass with three laps remaining, which put the top spot out of reach. He was able to quickly regain his speed and skated defensively to fend off a trio of hard charging skaters behind him to secure a third-place finish (2:19.179). Korea’s Kim Gun Woo (2:18.934) won gold, while China’s Li Wenlong (2:19.009) captured silver.
A pair of Canadian women also earned top-10 finishes on Saturday. Renée Steenge (Brampton, Ont.) narrowly missed out on her first career podium in an individual distance with a fifth-place finish in the 1500m, while Florence Brunelle (Trois-Rivières, Que.) was ninth in the 500m-1.
The ISU World Cup Short Track in Beijing concludes tomorrow with the 500m-2 and 1000m, along with the women’s 3000m and men’s 5000m relays. Races can be live streamed on CBC digital channels, including CBCSports.ca and the CBC Gem app.
“I’m super happy about such a great result today. My second gold medal in a row this World Cup season is what I had hoped for. There’s another race coming tomorrow and I’m going to shift my focus to that, but I’ll take tonight to appreciate and savour the victory. It was an exciting race today. A lot of people were surprised to see the Chinese skater challenging his teammate, but I kind of saw it coming and even told my coach about it before the race. My strategy was adapted a bit with this in mind. Obviously, their collision made my pass to the front easier and after that it was all but over.”
“I’m very happy with my day and what it means for the season. I’m trying to gain points for the Chrystal Globe and had some good races, but I didn’t perform as well as I thought I could have during the final. I stumbled a bit during a pass and got cut off mid-stride. Despite all of that, I still managed to win the bronze. I’m proud of myself and I hope I can do even better tomorrow.”
- Renee Steenge: 5th
- Claudia Gagnon: 8th
- Courtney Sarault: 20th
- William Dandjonou: 3rd
- Maxime Laoun: 8th
- Pascal Dion: 10th
- Florence Brunelle: 9th
- Danaé Blais: 14th
- Rikki Doak: 17th
- Jordan Pierre-Gilles: 1st
- Steven Dubois: 13th
- Félix Roussel: 17th
- Mixed Relay: 9th