Canadian women’s relay snares silver at short track World Cup final

Canada completed its short track speed skating World Cup season with its best showing of the year adding four medals to its haul on Saturday highlighted by silver for the women’s relay squad and two more individual bronze medals for Montreal’s Steve Robillard.

The Canadians, icing the squad that will compete at the world championships next month, won 10 medals one gold, three silver and six bronze at the three day competition which caps the six-stop World Cup circuit for the 2004-2005 season.

In the women’s 3,000-metre relay, China won the gold medal in 4:18.116 with the Canadians second in 4:20.491 and South Korea third in 4:20.695. Skating for Canada was Chantale Sevigny of Sherbrooke, Que., Amanda Overland of Cambridge, Ont., Alanna Kraus of Abbotsford, B.C., and Annik Plamondon of Montreal.

"We put a lot of work into the relay this weekend and we feel we got to know each other a lot better," said Kraus. "We got a bit lucky with the Koreans who fell but we won a hard battle with France thanks to some really good exchanges."

In the men’s 5,000 relay, the U.S., were the winners in 6:46.801 with South Korea second in 6:46.960 while the Canadians were third in 6:52.327 with Francois-Louis Tremblay of Boucherville, Que., Mathieu Turcotte of Sherbrooke, Que., Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Steve Robillard of Montreal. Canada medalled in the men’s relay at all six World Cups this season.

Robillard, 20, completed the best weekend of his career with bronze medals in both the 1,000 and 3,000 metre races on Saturday. He finishes the weekend with four individual medals. He was also second in the 1,500 and 500 on Thursday and Friday.

"It’s a very satisfying competition for me," said Robillard. "I was very consistent. I wasn’t sure how many events I would race this weekend but I was glad to capitalize on my opportunities."

Also in the men’s 1,000, Turcotte was disqualified in the final and Éric Bédard of Ste-Thècle, Que., was eliminated in the quarterfinals for ninth overall.

In Saturday’s individual races on the women’s side, Anouk Leblanc-Boucher of Montreal was seventh in the 3,000 while in the 1,000 Overland, Kraus and Leblanc-Boucher were eliminated in the quarterfinals for 11th, 14th and 17th.

In the final World Cup standings, Canada earned three titles: it was ranked the top-men’s team for the year and was also first in the men’s relay standings while Turcotte took the men’s 500 crown.

Apolo Anton Ohno of the U.S., the 1,000 winner Saturday, is the overall individual World Cup champion finishing with 200 points. Ohno also placed first in the 1,000 World Cup standings ahead of Turcotte in third and Hamelin in fourth.

Canada was also third in the women’s relay standings and overall women’s team rankings. Overland was sixth in the 1,000 standings and Kraus ninth in the overall standings.

The Canadian team now team returns home to prepare for the worlds.