Canadian women fourth, men fifth in world junior pursuits

CHANGCHUN, China – Canada finished fourth in the women’s team pursuit and fifth in the men’s team pursuit on Sunday to conclude the world junior championships in long track speed skating.

In women’s 2,400-metre pursuit, the Netherlands defeated Germany in the gold medal final. China beat Canada for the bronze by just over two seconds pulling away with two laps to go. The Canadian skaters against China were Justine L’Heureux of St-Tite, Que., Nicole Garrido of Edmonton and Véronique Huot, from Québec City.

In qualifying, Canada advanced with L’Heureux, Garrido and Sarah Gregg of Edmonton.

In the men’s 3,200-metre pursuit, the Netherlands beat Italy in the gold medal final while the U.S., took Japan for the bronze.

Canada didn’t advance in qualifying and took fifth overall with Philippe Riopel of Lachenaie, Que., Jordan Belchos of Toronto and Spencer Zettler of Sault Ste Marie, Ont.

‘’We didn’t have any big objectives for the pursuits,’’ said Canadian coach Neal Marshall. ‘’We were confident with the depth of our team but the other countries were a bit unknown to us, particularly the number-three skaters. We’re pretty happy with how we performed.’’

Canada ends the competition with four medals. On Friday Riopel took gold in the 500 and L’Heureux won silver in the 1,500. On Saturday, L’Heureux took the overall silver and Garrido collected a bronze in the 3,000.

It’s the most medals for Canada since also winning four at the 2005 junior worlds. Canada won one medal in 2007 and 2006.