2014 Short Track Speed Skating World Championships. Hamelin & Shim crowned at 1500m

2014 Short Track Speed Skating World Championships

Charles Hamelin (Ste-Julie, Québec), 1500m Olympic champion, claimed the world championship title today at the same distance, ahead of China’s Tianyu Han and Korea’s Se-Yeong Park at the Short Track Speed Skating World Championships in Montreal.

“The world championship title at this distance is as important to me as winning an Olympic medal”, declared Charles Hamelin, who found his way to lead the pack one many occasions in a final riddled with passing and overtaking.

The world champion earned his title before a crowd of young Montreal school board students, who had already been won over by their idol. “The crowd really helped me, they gave me the extra energy I needed to pass the Chinese skater in the last turn and beat him at the finish line to win gold”, added Hamelin.

On the women’s side, a trio of Koreans ascended the podium. Suk Hee Shim, Sochi silver medalist, won gold and her teammates Alang Kim and Seung-Hi Park earned silver and bronze, respectively.

The best Canadian skater was Valerie Maltais (La Baie, Québec), who took fourth in a race where she fought for first place up until the very last lap. She slipped to 4th place when her three Korean adversaries caught up to her in the last 50m.

“Being ahead, I was trying to gain some speed and skate a defensive line. But by the end, I was tired. I was still second but in the first stage of the turn I was passed by a Korean - I hesitate a little and I opened the door for the third Korean to pass me”, explained Maltais.

Other Canadian athletes

The other Canadian skaters were denied a ticket to the finals. Marie-Eve Drolet had the briefest day, finishing 4th in her qualifying heat. Marianne Saint-Gelais, who made it into the semi-finals by posting the fastest time of the third place finishers, did not advance past the semis, finishing 5th in her semi-final heat. Drolet finished 22nd spot and St-Gelais, 16th.

On the men’s side, Olivier Jean and Charle Cournoyer both ended their run in the semis of the 1500m, taking the 11th and 14th spots respectively.

Women’s relay

The semi-final races of the 3000m women’s relay closed out the first day of competition at the 2014 Short Track Speed Skating World Championships. The final will be a repeat of the Olympic final and feature the Korean, Chinese, Canadian and Italian teams. The final will be held Sunday. Tomorrow’s schedule features the men’s and women’s 500m as well as the 5000m men’s relay semi-finals, starting at 12:20 pm.

For more details on the event, visit http://www.mondial2014.ca