Canadian Skaters Dominant in the 500m at the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Saguenay

Ivanie Blondin, Jessica Gregg, Kalyna Roberge, Charles Hamelin and Jeffrey Scholten were all very strong on this first day of competition at the ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup, in Saguenay.

Still a junior age skater, Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, ON, impressed again by being in perfect control of all her races and qualifying on both 500m and 1500m. “This first day of World Cup went really well for me,” jubilated the 16 year old skater. “I wasn’t too nervous, I was rather very excited. I can’t wait to skate in front of the crowd tomorrow!”

In the 500m, other Canadians also did very well. On the women’s side, Kalyna Roberge of St-Étienne de Lauzon, QC, Jessica Gregg of Edmonton, AB (twice), and Annik Plamondon of Longueuil, QC, all qualified for the quarter finals just like Blondin. Anne Maltais of Québec City will have to skate in the repechage in order to keep skating for a medal.

Canadian women impressed as well in the 1000m and Roberge, Plamondon and Amanda Overland of Montreal, QC, all went directly to the quarter finals for Sunday. The 1500m was harder and only Blondin qualified. Overland and Maltais both fell and will be in the repechage Saturday morning.

On the men’s side, François-Louis Tremblay of Alma, QC, had no luck in the 1000m and was disqualified, just like his teammate Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, QC. “My 1000m didn’t go as I wanted. With my experience, I should have predicted better the reaction of the skater in front of me. That way, I could have stayed away from being disqualified,” he said, disappointed, after his race. Tremblay and Jean both qualified for the 500m quarter finals for tomorrow.

On 500m, Jeffrey Scholten of Montréal, QC (twice), Charles Hamelin of Lévis, QC, and Michael Gilday of Yellowknife, North West Territories, will make the quarter finals with their teammates.

Hamelin once again skated very well today, and he qualified also on the 1500m. Gilday and Marc-André Monette of Montréal, QC, were both disqualified of the 1500m. Monette came back strong in the 1000m and will skate in the quarter finals on Sunday.

The last races of the day were the quarter finals of the male relay, and Canada easily qualified for the semi-finals that will be held on Sunday.

Competition goes on tomorrow at the Centre Georges-Vézina with the repechages of the 500m and 1500m in the morning. Finals of both distances and quarter finals of the female relay will be held in front of the public in the afternoon. The first medals will be awarded at the end of the day of competition.